GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- He's out of the hospital and speaking now publicly for the first time about being purposely set on fire, police say, by an ex-girlfriend.
"It happened slowly I guess in my mind, but I guess in real time it was fast," said Thelonious Haley.
"It" was the attack in Galveston, outside his apartment, on Nov. 29. Police say Haley was ambushed and set on fire by an ex-girlfriend.
"I look up, I see her eyes and I just remember her saying, 'Huh,'" Haley said.
He tells us that woman was Nancy Allen, an "ex" that he dated for only a few months, several years ago.
"I said, 'Damn! She threw something on me!' The next thing I feel is the fire, and I feel the explosion," He remembered.
In surveillance video from a nearby grocery store, you can see Haley struggling to take off a smoldering hoodie.
"I just took it off and I started thinking about, I just can't go out like this. I just wasn't going to go out like that," Haley said.
He spent over a week in the burn unit with second and third degree burns to his hand, arm and neck. Some of those burns required a skin graft.
Haley says it never should have come to this. He says he's been targeted by Allen repeatedly.
He tells Eyewitness News she burned down his grandmother's home a few years ago when he lived there. He says she previously doused him with lighter fluid. She was convicted once of even of biting him. He says he's called police so many times and she always returns, hell-bent on hurting him.
"How can somebody just keep getting away with this? Over and over and over. If the shoe was on the other foot, I just feel like I would have been shut down a long time ago," Haley concluded.
He is thankful for the friends who have taken him in, offered encouragement and stood by his side through this ordeal.
"I just had this outpouring of people who cared about me and I just want to say thank you," he said, choking back tears.
Nancy Allen is charged now with felony aggravated assault and is in jail. She faces up to 99 years in prison, if convicted. Haley hopes she is punished for as long as his scars might remain, maybe longer.
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Galveston man speaks out after ex-girlfriend allegedly set him on fire
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