LOS ANGELES (AP) – A 24-year-old Los Angeles man was charged Monday with attempted murder after a homeless woman was set on fire last week as she slept on a suburban bus bench, the district attorney’s office said.
Dennis Petillo is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court on the attempted murder charge and an additional count of aggravated mayhem, said Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney. Carney will ask that Petillo’s bail be set at $1.03 million.
Prosecutors say Petillo threw a flammable liquid on the 67-year-old woman then set her on fire last Thursday. She remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition, officials said.
Police have released no motive for the crime that shocked the San Fernando Valley community of Van Nuys, where the woman had made her home on the streets for years.
Neighbors set up a makeshift shrine at the bench where the woman, whose identity has not been released, habitually slept. Locals said she was known as Violet and eked out a living by recycling cans.
They described her as sweet-natured and never wanting to bother anyone. She had turned down offers of help and efforts to get her into a shelter.
If convicted, Petillo could face a maximum sentence of life in state prison. It is unknown whether he has retained an attorney.
The incident was at least the third in Los Angeles County since October in which people were set on fire.
Earlier this month, a 55-year-old man was seriously injured when he was torched as he slept outside a doughnut shop in Norwalk.
In October, Long Beach police said Jacob Timothy Lagarde, 27, threw a lit Molotov cocktail at a man who had been waiting for his father outside a store. Lagarde has been charged with attempted murder and five other counts.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- 12 things to watch before the Oscars
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Best and worst of Super Bowl commercials
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night