Man indicted for setting girlfriend afire

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

Kathy Jefcoats


A Clayton County grand jury has indicted a College Park man for allegedly pouring gasoline on his girlfriend and setting her on fire in January.

Tara Dania Best, 20, suffered burns on more than 68 percent of her body, with 40 percent being third-degree, according to court documents. Her then-boyfriend, Orville Cromwell Brooks Jr., 29, faces a 16-count indictment including nine separate charges of aggravated battery for the extensive damage done to Best's body, and attempted murder.

As of Wednesday, Brooks had not posted his more than $350,000 bond, and was being held in the Clayton County Jail.

Court documents allege Brooks poured gasoline all over Best Jan. 14 while both were in the bathroom of their Brookstone apartment. Brooks set her on fire and fled the scene, police said. Best also ran, falling onto the mattress in the bedroom, which also caught fire.

Best escaped the apartment, running outside and catching the attention of a neighbor. The neighbor grabbed a fire extinguisher and used it to douse the flames covering Best's body, police said. Before Best was air-lifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, she allegedly identified Brooks as the perpetrator.

When police arrived, they found a red gasoline container inside the couple's apartment bathroom and a burning mattress.

Brooks was arrested three days later, after police caught up with him at a Riverdale apartment. He tried to run from arresting officers because he said he knew he had outstanding warrants, said police. When he was arrested, police found marijuana in his left front pocket.