Attorney accused of lighting girlfriend on fire - KMSP-TV

Lawyer accused of lighting girlfriend on fire in Burnsville apartment

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A woman was set on fire and left to die, and investigators now say her boyfriend – a Twin Cities attorney – is responsible for the awful attack.

The victim was critically burned and has been heavily sedated this entire time, and was only recently able to do an interview with detectives.

On the night in question, the woman apparently passed out from alcohol and medication. When she woke up, her boyfriend was gone and she was on fire.

When firefighters arrived at the Burnsville apartment complex a couple of months ago, they found a woman sitting at her kitchen table, passed out, and on fire. Police said her body had been soaked in nail polish remover and hair spray.

She whispered to her rescuers, "He lit the fire…the bastard tried to burn my house down."

David Gherity, 60, has since been arrested and was charged Friday in Dakota County with first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree arson.

When he showed up at the HCMC burn unit to see his girlfriend, he was still covered in ash and soot, asking doctors if she had a living will and offering to write one up and have her sign it.

In fact, Gherity hasn't been a licensed lawyer for more than a decade -- his license indefinitely suspended for a violent rap sheet. He got into trouble a few years after passing the bar in the summer of 1982, beating up a girlfriend, violating a protection order and throwing a Molotov cocktail at someone's house.

The lawyers board put him on probation for 15 years, but it hardly kept him out trouble. 14 years ago, he assaulted a different girlfriend when they were living in a Minneapolis high rise. When a neighbor tried to intervene, he punched and choked him against the railing of the balcony on the 26th floor.

Gherity took that assault case all the way to the appeals court, and lost. He spent his legal career burning bridges, and prosecutors say he's now gone one step too far.

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