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New trial set for man in fiery attack on woman

Published: Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

BENTON – A trial for a southern Illinois man accused of dousing his girlfriend with chemicals and setting her on fire has been pushed back into next year.

The Franklin County trial for 28-year-old Christopher Rollins of West Frankfort was to have gotten under way next month. But a judge has postponed the trial until Feb. 5.

Rollins has pleaded not guilty to charges of a count of aggravated battery.

West Frankfort police say 22-year-old Tessa Leech survived the August attack, but sustained burns over much of her body. Her relatives say she's still hospitalized.

An investigator has said Rollins told authorities he poured tar cleaner or remover on Leech and left the room, only to later hear screams and find Leech on fire.

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