MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade police have made an arrest in connection to a Christmas night attack two years ago in which a man was set on fire.
Willie James Summersett, Jr., 30, has been charged with first degree murder in the death of Darrell Brackett.
“I am on cloud nine,” Darrell Brackett’s mother, Bridgett, said Wednesday night following the arrest. “This has been a long year for me with all that’s happened and all I’ve had to endure. I had faith in the police department.”
Darrell Brackett, 44, and his girlfriend had just dropped off guests after hosting a Christmas night cookout and were on their way home when his van ran out of gas.
Brackett walked to the U-Gas station at 4700 NW 27th Ave. After filling up a portable container with gas, Summersett and two other men attacked him, doused him in gas and set him on fire, according to police.
Brackett was taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Brackett suffered severe burns over 75 percent of his body.
“When I walked in there and saw my son lying in that bed, I couldn’t believe it was him. Really, he was so disfigured. He was burnt everywhere,” Bridgett Brackett told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
He died February 15th 2012, due to the severity of his injuries.
After the attack, detectives questioned one man. Alex Cineas, 21, came forward but was not charged. That’s when they became interested in Summersett.
Investigators obtained surveillance tape of Summersett when he went to Hialeah Hospital to be treated for burns. Cineas was also spotted on the hospital’s tapes along with the two other people suspected in Brackett’s attack.
Summersett, who has an extensive criminal record, was arrested May 7th.
“He’s finally behind bars. I can get a good night’s sleep. I haven’t slept good since this happened,” Bridgett Brackett said. “I don’t hate him. I can’t forgive him right now, but I’m asking God to give me the strength to forgive him totally.”
Police are still looking for the two other individuals who were with him at the hospital.
Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477) or go to crimestoppersmiami.com.