HASTINGS, Minn. - A former attorney is charged with assault and arson after authorities say he set his girlfriend on fire.
Prosecutors say 60-year-old David John Gherity set fire to both his girlfriend and her home the afternoon of February 9. Burnsville fire crews responded to a condominium on the 120000 block of Parkwood Drive on reports of a smoke alarm going off. When firefighters arrived there was heavy smoke pouring from the residence and an adult female was sitting at a table on fire. The fire was extinguished and the victim was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center to be treated for severe burns.
Before she was transported the victim told firefighters "he lit the fire" and "the bastard tried to burn my house down." They reported that alcohol bottles were found in the area near the victim, and there was charring on the coffee table and bed.
That same day the victim's sister contacted Burnsville Police and told them she had received a voicemail from the victim saying her boyfriend David John Gherity "has gone berserk, I can't call now, I'll call you later."'
Police had to wait until March 4 to interview the victim as she was in a medically induced coma due to her severe burns. She told detectives that she and Gherity were in the condo on the day of the fire and said he was stressed. She admitted she had been drinking and taking medication. She told police Gherity was still there when she fell asleep on the couch and when she woke up he was gone and the place was on fire.
A BCA analysis of the victims burned clothing showed a mixture of compounds including alcohol, and possibly hairspray and nail polish remover. The victim says she used none of those items on the day of the fire.
The victim remains hospitalized at HCMC and will remain there for an indefinite period of time with burns on many parts of her body. Prosecutors say she lost an ear as a result of being set on fire.