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Suspect pleads not guilty in Van Nuys burned woman case

Dennis Petillo, 24, is shown in court o n Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

January 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Arraignment was held Monday for a man charged with setting a homeless woman on fire as she slept on a bus bench in Van Nuys.

Dennis Petillo, 24, entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of attempted murder.

Prosecutors say Petillo threw flammable liquid on a 67-year-old woman, and then set her ablaze. The woman remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

The bus bench was the woman's home for at least 10 years, according to those who know her, and her name was Violet.

Petillo remains in jail. A motive for the attack remains unclear.