News Releases

December 31, 2012: Man Charged with Attempted Murder of Homeless Woman

Jane Robison, Assistant Media Chief
(213) 257-2000

A 24-year-old Van Nuys man was charged today with attempted murder after he allegedly set a homeless woman on fire as she slept on a bus bench in Van Nuys, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Dennis Petillo (dob 7-26-88) is scheduled to be arraigned sometime today in case LA072905 in Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys, Department 100, said Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney with Target Crimes. In addition to attempted murder, he is charged with aggravated mayhem.

Prosecutors will ask his bail be set at $1.03 million.

Petillo allegedly threw an ignitable liquid on the woman then set her on fire, Carney said. The incident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. on Dec. 27 near Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way.

The 67-year-old victim remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition, officials said.

If convicted, Petillo faces a maximum of up to life in state prison.