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

March 4, 2010 |  1:26 pm

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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