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Woman denies setting fire to exotic dancer

February 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A woman accused of dousing an exotic dancer with gasoline and setting fire to her denies she attacked the woman.But Rianne Theriault-Odom testified Roberta Dos Santos Busby punched her and someone else doused her with the flammable liquid.

Busby took the witness stand Monday testifying to the effects of second and third degree burns over 40 percent of her body. She told the jury she was hospitalized for five months, had 30 skin grafts and can't even open her mouth wide enough to eat a sandwich.

Her burn-ravaged face, arms and legs nearly brought some jurors to tears, while others appeared stunned.

Theriault-Odom, 28, of Tarzana is charged with attempted murder, mayhem and torture. She could face life in prison if she's convicted of the attack at the Babes N'Beer bikini bar in Tarzana on Feb. 5, 2009.

Monday, she told jurors Busby disrespected her that night, making fun of the stage name "Jen" Theriault-Odom had picked.

"I felt offended. I felt she was trying to punk me, "Theriault-Odom said. "I had to stand up for myself. That's the way it is on the streets." But she denied having set Busby on fire.

She admitted to being very drunk on the night of the attack, which happened just before 2a.m. She said she drank two double shots of Russian vodka, half a fifth of Patron tequila and five shots of Hennessy cognac.

Initially, police arrested a former DJ at the club, Nathaniel Marquis Petrillo, 23, of Reseda for setting Busby on fire. But prosecutors later said they did not have sufficient evidence to charge him.

This is the second week of the trial.