Los Angeles man charged with setting homeless woman on fire

LOS ANGELES Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:09pm GMT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 24-year-old Los Angeles area man accused of setting a homeless woman on fire as she slept on a bus stop bench was charged on Monday with attempted murder and aggravated mayhem.

Prosecutors say Dennis Petillo doused the 67-year-old woman with a flammable liquid as she slept on a bench in the Los Angeles section of Van Nuys in the early morning hours of December 27 and then set her on fire.

The woman, who has not been identified by authorities, survived the attack but remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Petillo, who was scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Monday afternoon, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is convicted at a trial.

Prosecutors said they would ask that he be held on $1.03 million (634 thousand pounds) bail.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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