Police: Man who set girlfriend on fire had domestic battery warrant

Darryl Whipple has history of domestic issues

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man charged with setting his girlfriend on fire at a Golden Corral had a warrant out for his arrest for domestic battery when the attack took place, according to officials. 

Darryl Whipple, 58, is accused of dousing his girlfriend, 56-year-old Carol Renee Demmons, with flammable liquid and lighting her on fire as she worked behind the dessert counter inside the restaurant on Memorial Park Road, just off Normandy Boulevard, on Oct. 12.

Whipple was arrested on charges of attempted murder, battery and criminal mischief or interruption of a business, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Demmons is recovering from severe burns.

VIDEO: Police: Man set girlfriend on fire

According to police, the Sheriff’s Office had a warrant out for Whipple’s arrest for domestic battery as a result of an incident with Demmons on Aug. 16.

Whipple was served with the warrant in jail. The judge in Whipple's domestic battery case waived his appearance Tuesday. 

Demmons' family was at the courthouse Tuesday, expecting to see Whipple face a judge. Her loved ones asked the community to keep Demmons in their prayers.

"Just pray, continue to pray. We’ve had a lot of people praying, and that’s what’s important right now,” Demmons' cousin, Glenda Hall, said. “She’s got a long process, and if you could put her on your church prayer list, that would be great.”

Whipple, who is being held without bond, is expected back in court Nov. 15.

I-TEAM: Whipple previously arrested for domestic battery

Police said Whipple has a history of domestic issues.

Three years ago, another woman petitioned the court for a domestic violence injunction against Whipple. He's had other run-ins with police as well, including arrests for domestic battery and aggravated assault.

He was arrested for domestic battery on Demmons in April, but she declined to press charges, admitting that she started the fight. The arrest report indicated Demmons pulled a knife on Whipple.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said there are often warning signs of abuse, but domestic violence can be unpredictable.

"It really doesn't have a set pattern. A person can have no history of domestic violence and then the first time become extremely violent. Sometimes, those patterns are hard to follow," Smith said. "If someone has a very controlling nature, they want to control where you go, they want to know who you're with all the time, checking your cellphone, just have a controlling nature -- that's a sign that violence could be there."