Man convicted of lighting himself on fire, killing mother

Upset that his mother would not pay off his debt to drug dealers, Genesis Collins Jr. set himself on fire and embraced her, leaving Audrey Collins with burns that ultimately killed her, prosecutors said.

On Wednesday, a Baltimore jury convicted Collins, 42, of manslaughter and other charges in connection with the attack. He faces as much as 40 years in prison when he is sentenced in March.

Jeremy Reed, Genesis Collins' nephew and Audrey Collins' grandson, said the family felt some relief that he had been convicted but that there was no real feeling of closure.

"Justice can't bring her back; she's gone," he said, reached by phone Thursday. "It doesn't matter how much time they give him."

Collins' mother, Audrey Collins, survived four months before succumbing to her injuries.

Before she died, she told investigators she had been sitting next to her son on the morning of May 5, 2011, when he said he wanted to kill himself because he owed money to some drug dealers. Genesis Collins poured rubbing alcohol on his head and set himself on fire using a cigarette lighter, before jumping onto his mother and refusing to let go, prosecutors said.

Someone stabbed him several times in an effort to get him to let go, and eventually he fled outside, prosecutors said. That person has not been identified.

When police came to the family's home in the 3800 block of Cottage Ave., they found Genesis Collins lying in the street with burns to his upper body and head. They found Audrey Collins inside, also badly burned, prosecutors said.

Mother and son were taken to the hospital. Audrey Collins, who was 68, died of complications from her burns in September. Her death was ruled a homicide in January 2012.

Reed said Collins' drug use had caused the family problems going back years. He had lived at home all his life, Reed said, and had been in and out of hospital after previously threatening to kill himself.

Audrey Collins had pressed theft charges against her son in 1997, according to online court records, and had sought protective orders against him a number of times since 2002.

"I don't think he should be back on the street ever again," Reed said. "If he killed his mother, he hasn't got no regard for anyone's life."

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