Monday, January 29, 2001

Burn victim defends accused fiancee

Police say woman set man on fire with lighter

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        While a Mount Washington woman accused of setting her fiance on fire Saturday faces several felony charges, the victim said Sunday from his hospital room the situation was a misunderstanding.

        Dan Riley, 40, suffered second-degree burns over one-fourth of his body Saturday night. Police say the Mount Washington man doused himself with lighter fluid during an argument with Sherry Montone and she ignited him.

        Ms. Montone, 48, of the 1800 block of Sutton Avenue, was held Sunday in the Hamilton County Justice Center on charges of felonious assault and domestic violence.

        Cincinnati District 2 police said she also will be charged with two counts of felony aggravated arson.

        “She's in big trouble for something she didn't do,” Mr. Riley said Sunday from his room in University Hospital's burn unit, where he was in stable condition.

        “Do you think I'd be saying this, defending her, if it wasn't true?” he asked.

        Police said the couple were arguing at 6:10 p.m. at Ms. Montone's apartment when Mr. Riley “put lighter fluid all over his clothes and body. That's when (his girlfriend) lit a lighter and put it to his clothes,” according to the arrest report.

        Mr. Riley said the first part was true, but the second part was not.

        He explained that Ms. Montone was about 8 inches from him with the lighter when she flicked it and his clothes ignited.

        “I was upset that she wasn't listening to what I was saying,” Mr. Riley said, “and I did douse myself and say "If you're going to hurt me, hurt me.' But I had just gotten out of the shower and she (doubted) that I had it on me.

        “It was a misunderstanding,” Mr. Riley said.

        Mr. Riley said he expects to remain in University Hospital for several days. Ms. Montone was arrested at her home at 10:55 p.m. Saturday.


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