VISTA (CNS) - A man who doused his estranged girlfriend with gasoline while she waited for her granddaughter to come out of dance class was sentenced Wednesday to 17 years in state prison.
Danny Vinci, 44, was convicted last month of four charges, including assault with a caustic chemical and making a criminal threat. He was sentenced by Vista Judge Harry Elias.
Cheryl Denise Kopp was sitting in her car in the parking lot of Dance Unlimited in Oceanside when she was attacked. The attempt to set her on fire was abortive.
Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe told jurors that Vinci and the victim -- who was 42 at the time of the assault on March 11, 2010 -- had an "on-again, off-again" relationship and a history of methamphetamine use.
The defense contended Vinci never intended to ignite the gasoline and meant only to scare his former girlfriend.
Vinci was also convicted of domestic violence for choking the woman on Feb. 21, 2010.
According to the prosecution, Vinci spent most of the past decade in prison for burglary, auto theft, drug possession and criminal threat convictions. He had pleaded guilty to a drug charge and was out on bail awaiting sentencing when he doused the victim with gas.
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