First-degree murder charges were filed Feb. 12 in Cherokee County District Court against a woman accused of setting a man on fire.

Court documents indicate that on Jan. 20, Denise Lynn Grass, 43, Tahlequah, stabbed Elvis Dry, 61, Tahlequah, several times with a knife, then set him on fire while he was still alive.

According to Cherokee County Sheriff's Office reports, Grass was hired by Dry as his live-in caretaker. Deputies received information that Dry, an amputee who uses a wheelchair, had not been heard from or seen in several days.

While performing a welfare check on Jan. 20, deputies found what they believed to be Dry's burned body in his backyard. Reports state Dry's wheelchair was also found burned approximately 15 yards away from the body.

The Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner's Tulsa office made a positive identification of Dry by the serial number of a medical device.

Authorities arrested Grass on Jan. 25 in Muskogee and she was transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center.

CCSO reports state Grass initially denied any involvement in Dry's death and that when she last saw him on Jan. 17, he was still alive. However, she allegedly later admitted to killing him.

She told authorities she was cooking dinner at Dry's residence on Jan. 17 when she sat at the table and fell asleep. Grass then said she was awakened when Dry touched her upper thigh area, and she reacted by pulling a pocket knife from her pocket and swinging it at him, stabbing him.

Grass then pushed Dry outside in the backyard, where he fell out of his wheelchair.

She told authorities she set a book on fire and placed it on Dry, shut the door and locked it.

The defendant added that she was possibly holding a cup of alcohol and may have thrown that on Dry. She then left the residence.

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