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Tarzana woman is sentenced to life for setting nightclub dancer on fire

A 28-year-old Tarzana woman was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for setting a nightclub dancer on fire.

Rianne Celine Theriault-Odom was found guilty last month of aggravated mayhem and torture in connection with the February 2009 attack on Roberta Dos Santos Busby, officials said. 

During an argument, Theriault-Odom took a Dr. Pepper bottle filled with gasoline and hurled its contents at Busby before igniting the fluid, officials said. Busby was set on fire from the waist up.

"The DA described her as a human fireball, a human torch," LAPD Det. Louis Zorrilla said of the victim. The defendant and the victim, who share the same birthday, did not know each other, authorities said.

Busby, who had to have 30 skin grafts over her body, left the courtroom immediately after giving her statement Thursday, officials said.

A restitution hearing is set for March 26.

But Busby said no restitution could make up for what happened to her.

“I deal with it daily. I don’t sleep; I’m still in pain,” said the mother of two young girls. “I really honestly don’t look at myself in the mirror. I hate looking at my reflection.”

Busby said she still doesn’t understand the brutality of the attack.

“In order to do something like that, you don’t have feelings,” she said. “I wanted to know for a while -- and now I don’t care why. Why isn’t going to bring me back, the way I looked.”

-- Amina Khan

Photos: Busby and Theriault-Odom. KTLA

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Comments () | Archives (13)

Life??? Does that mean she will do about 5 years or so?

Rianne Celine Theriault-Odom is worse than a terrorist - the latter are just attacking people anonymously. This is pure evil.

I wish I could afford to help Roberta; medicine cannot fix that level of burn injury, it affects every system in the body. But there may be at least cosmetic repairs that could be done with more money, plus she would know that people are on her side.

I do hope the 'life' sentence doesn't translate to 12 years and probation. Roberta will never get back to a fully normal life, and won't live as long as the rest of us. At least the days when liberals ruled the courts and always found ways to let the dear perps out are gone.

If anyone wealthy is reading this, here's someone who needs help.

I resent having to pay for her room and board for the rest of her miserable life. What is it about setting someone on fire that is not considered premeditated? Isn't this what the death penalty is specifically for? Are we supposed to go easy on this animal because the victim didn't die? And please don't repeat the argument that it costs more to house a murderer on death row than to keep them in regular jail for life - that's a problem with how we carry out the punishment, not an objection to the punishment itself. In this kind of crime, where there isn't the slightest doubt of guilt or intention, I can't see why she isn't executed within a few months.

So, why did she do it?

Life in prison seems excessive. I just hope they require her to go through serious psychological counseling. There's something seriously wrong with a person who does something like that.

This Odom woman should have received the death penalty. Now our tax dollars have to support this worthless, disgusting, maggot of a human being. How many dollars will that add up to over the next 50-60 years? That's less opportunity to rebuild our highways, our schools, to provide for the truly needed.

Dont worry about bringing yourself back to the way you looked. You cannot control that. You are beautiful and very strong! You have 2 children to care for. This monster will get her day. I am proud of you.

Brutal. Senseless. Inhuman. A heinous and cruel act of violence. It's just inexplicable. She's right where she belongs the rest of her miserable life. I wept when I saw the photo of that poor woman, and I don't easily do that. At least there is some justice here.

What this woman did was a horrendous, tragic crime, but I also believe a life sentence is too harsh. A set time would've been fine, along with psychological therapy sessions to aide her as to why and what led her to threw gasoline and set her on fire in the place.

This woman has no soul. To be able to set someone on fire is inconceivable. There's no emotion but hate and jealousy. Obviously after being denied a stripping job she was jealous and decided to set one of the strippers on fire. She messed up. It's like killing someone because they got the promotion you wanted. Worse then life in prison should happen to this woman.

She should have been given the death penalty. If she were a man, she might have been.

And before anyone says, "It's more expensive to execute prisoners," that's only because we give them unlimited appeals and unlimited time make them. We should set a ten-year deadline on capital punishment cases: you have ten years to the day from your date of sentencing to make your case for an appeal.

Roberta, I am proud of you. GOD SPEED..You have thousands of hugs and LOVE coming your way..

Sentence for 28 years in prison means she will be out in two years since this state has no money and are releasing convicts early by asking them to be nice and not to do it again. Makes the victims feel real sfe.


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