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Man Accused Of Setting Homeless Woman On Fire Charged In Attack

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VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A Van Nuys man has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated mayhem for allegedly setting a homeless woman on fire in the San Fernando Valley.

The suspect, identified by authorities as 24-year-old Dennis Petillo, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys.

The attack on the victim, identified by residents in the area as “Violet,” occurred about 1 a.m. on Dec. 27.

According to authorities, the 67-year-old victim was asleep on a bus bench at Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way when she was doused with flammable liquid and set on fire.

Witnesses allege that the suspect purchased what may have been rubbing alcohol from a Walgreens store nearby and then walked out of the store and doused the victim.

Although critically injured in the attack, authorities report that “Violet” is expected to survive her injuries.

RELATED STORY: Woman Critically Injured After Being Set On Fire While Sleeping On Bus Bench

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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