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Los Angeles Local Charged In Homeless Burning

A bench in LA where a local homeless woman was burned

A 24-year-old Los Angeles man has been charged in the attempted murder of a homeless woman after he tried to burn her while she slept on a bench last week.

The Superior Court has scheduled to arraign Dennis Petillo on charges of attempted murder and aggravated mayhem.

Los Angeles District Attorney Sean Carney will ask at the arraignment that Petillo’s bail be set at $1.03 million.

Petillo reportedly threw flammable liquid on the woman last Thursday. She remains hospitalized and is in stable condition.

The 67-year old woman, known to Los Angeles locals as Violet, was considered sweet-natured and respectful. CBS News was told she never asked for help and refused it when offered.

In fact, Violet was so liked by her community that the bench she regularly slept on has been turned into a shrine in her memory.

So far no motive has been reported for the crime. Petillo could face the maximum prison sentence if convicted, and it is unknown if he has an attorney.

This is at least the third such incident around LA where someone was intentionally set on fire. Earlier this month, a 55-year old man was torched while sleeping on the street in Norwalk, California.

The first happened in Long Beach in October when 27-year old Timothy Legarde threw a molotov cocktail at a man waiting for his father outside a store. Legarde has since been charged with attempted murder and five other counts.

Here is a photo of Violet’s shrine in Van Nuys, California:

Violet's shrine in Van Nuys, California

Violet’s shrine in Van Nuys, California

What do you think: Should Petillo get the maximum prison sentence allowable?

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