Friday, December 28, 2012

Homeless woman doused, set ablaze in LA arson attack

The charred bench where Violet has bedded down for 10 years, rain or shine
Death stalks a homeless woman in her bed

You see a lot more meanness in the city, it's the kind that eats you up inside. Hard to make it home with anything that feels like dignity, hard to come away with any pride. - Don Henley, “Down at the Sunset Grill”

A bus bench in the San Fernando Valley – Los Angeles police are calling "mental illness" the motive for dousing an elderly homeless woman known only as Violet and setting her ablaze with the touch of a match.

For ten years, she has bedded down on the same plastic bus bench each night. She didn't like to panhandle, and she provided for her needs by recycling aluminum cans she picked up on the street and found in trash containers.

A 24-year-old man named Dennis Petillo came out of a nearby liquor store, poured a flammable liquid all over the sleeping woman, and set her on fire.

She is in critical condition at an area hospital; he is in the LA County Jail under $500,000 bond, booked with investigation of attempted murder.

According to a witness, who identified the homeless woman as one of the sweetest people in the neighborhood, “He just poured it all over the lady...Then he set a match to her and started running.”

A short time later, the cops had their man.

Said a Los Angeles Deputy Chief named Kirk Albanese, “There was no incident or dispute or clear motivation for this horrific attack. He is not of sound mind...The motive is mental illness.”

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