Murder Charge In Death Of Tulsa Woman Set On Fire

Monday, August 3rd 2009, 9:58 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A man accused of lighting his girlfriend on fire will face first-degree murder charges.  Nikkie Partridge, 33, died on Thursday, nearly three weeks after she suffered second and third degree burns.  Her family tells The News On 6 Kenneth McCurley deserves to face the first-degree murder charges.  And, they hope Nikkie's story will encourage other women in abusive relationships to seek help.

"I didn't get to talk to her before she passed away. And, that sucks," said Nikkie's son, Michael Young.

Four days after losing Nikkie Partridge, her family is still struggling to adjust to life without her.

07/30/2009  Related Story:  Tulsa Woman Set On Fire Dies

"She was just a real good mom and a happy, fun person to be around, and had a lot of love in her heart, she really did," said her brother, James Partridge.

On July 10th, Partridge was found on 4th Street with second and third degree burns on most of her body.  Tulsa Police say Kenneth McCurley poured a flammable liquid on her and then lit it with a cigarette. 

McCurley told authorities it was all an accident.

The Tulsa County District Attorney disagreed, and the 23-year-old now faces first-degree murder charges.

Her family says Partridge and McCurley had a volatile relationship, but she was determined to get away from him.

"She had decided to get away from the past, all the negative stuff and try to change her life around," said James Partridge.

The mother of two was going to be a medical assistant.  In fact, she had just finished school the day before the attack, and was about to start an internship.  She bought a new car and hoped to buy her own home.

"She really worked hard.  I was proud of her," said her son, Michael Young.

While she will not able to enjoy her new lease on life, Nikkie's brother hopes the tragedy will inspire other women to end abusive relationships before they spiral out of control.

"If we can help one person get out of a bad situation, it won't change anything, but at least we'll feel like we've taken this negative and turned it into some type of positive by helping other people," said James Partridge.

Nikkie Partridge is also survived by her seven-year-old daughter.  The family has set up a fund with the Bank of Oklahoma.  Donations can be made in her name at any branch.

The Partridges are also working with Domestic Violence Intervention Services to set up a benefit concert.  It will take place sometime later this month.