Woman stabbed, doused with gasoline and set on fire at home during fight with husband

 Saturday, July 06, 2024 - A man stabbed his wife repeatedly and then set her on fire following a fight at their home in Dickson, Tennessee.

Officers arrived at the home alongside firefighters following reports of a fire but were horrified by what they discovered in the home.

The home had heavy smoke coming from it, but it was the woman at the back door who was a more immediate concern.

According to court documents, upon their arrival, 28-year-old Zachary Mowel approached the officers and said, "I did it. It was me."

The injured woman, who turned out to be the man's wife, Tessa, appeared to have multiple stab wounds to her upper back and chest and still had a knife inside her body.

After their investigation into the horrific crime scene, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation concluded that Mowel had attacked his wife with a knife, then doused her with gasoline and set their home on fire.

No motive has been given for the attack, but the victim reportedly told police that she and her husband had been in a fight that turned violent, according to WKRN.

He was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated arson, aggravated assault (domestic-related), and domestic assault.

He is being held at the Dickson County Jail on a bond of $765,000.

The victim's twin sister Tori Ila Elizabeth Trotter launched a GoFundMe on Tessa's behalf. She is still at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she is being treated for severe burns and multiple stab wounds. The GoFundMe also offered additional details of the attack.

According to Tori's explanation, Zachary stabbed his wife on July 1 when she arrived home from work. He allegedly stabbed her in the back with a kitchen knife, and then eight additional times in the neck, chest and back, all while "brutally beating her over 30 times in the face."

Tori then wrote that he "poured gasoline on her and set her on fire while watching her burn. He then set the house on fire and left her to die."

According to the page, the couple's sons, five and eight, were "watching and pleading for their dad to not kill their mom."

The GoFundMe also offered additional details as to Tessa's current status. In addition to the nine stab wounds and third degree burns covering her right leg, Tori writes that all of her sister's ribs are broken, she has a collapsed lung, and she is currently paralyzed from the waist down.

"Tessa is strong but she has a long road to recovery and therapy," Tori wrote, adding that she has taken temporary custody of her nephews.

"Tessa is the strongest person I know and her and her boys did not deserve this torture!" she concluded her message.

Local NBC affiliate WSMV spoke with the victim’s mother Tina Trotter, who said they had been planning a get-together on Monday night, July 1, before the attack happened.

After visiting her daughter at the hospital, Tina gave an update, saying, "She said, 'Momma, he tried to kill me.' He was leaving me to die."

"The boys were sitting right there, my grandsons, and he grabbed her arm and stabbed her.

"She told Jackson, her oldest child, to go call 911, and he wouldn’t let him do it."

Tina alleged that Zachary put the kids in his truck before setting the home on fire with Tessa still inside.

"He promised me he would never do that," Tina said of her son-in-law harming her daughter.

"And then to do this in front of the boys. I don’t know, that’s why I can’t get my head around it."

According to Tina, two passersby saw the smoke and rushed inside the home to put out the fire, which likely saved her daughter's life.

She said that Mowel had left the scene after setting the house ablaze, but returned before his eventual arrest.

"God bless you, and I will reach out to you once my family finds out who you are," Tina said of the good samaritans who stopped to help. “Our family is so grateful for y’all because I wouldn’t have her today.”

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