Roberta Dos Santos Busby of Simi Valley was badly burned on Feb. 5, 2009,… (Rodrigo Busby )
A 28-year-old woman was convicted Thursday of throwing gasoline on a Tarzana nightclub dancer and setting her on fire.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury found Rianne Celine Theriault-Odom of Tarzana guilty of aggravated mayhem and torture. She was acquitted on a charge of attempted murder and a lesser charge of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
"We think this is an excellent verdict," said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
Public defender Leni Jacobs said the jury had come to a fair and careful decision, having taken nearly two days to decide.
"This was a very conscientious jury," said Jacobs, who represented Theriault-Odom. "The jurors struggled with it. They really considered the evidence."
Prosecutors said Theriault-Odom apparently was arguing with Roberta Dos Santos Busby of Simi Valley in the early morning of Feb. 5, 2009, outside the Babes & Beer nightclub, 18454 Oxnard St., where Busby worked as an exotic dancer.
There had been a disagreement between the two women earlier in the evening, police said.
Busby, who was 27 at the time, had been inside the bar counting tips about 1:30 a.m. before coming outside, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
During the argument, Theriault-Odom took a Dr. Pepper soda bottle filled with gasoline and doused the dancer. Something flashed in the dark, witnesses said, and Busby was set ablaze, engulfed in fire from the waist up, said LAPD Det. Louis Zorrilla.
"The D.A. described her as a human fireball, a human torch," said Zorrilla, who worked on the investigation.
Busby ran back into the nightclub, where employees and patrons used curtains to extinguish the flames. She was taken to the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks.
Busby, a mother of two, needed about 30 skin-graft operations, authorities said.
"The victim was badly burned," Robison said. "She still has severe scars over her entire body a year later."
Jacobs said Theriault-Odom is a mother of four young boys who at one point had planned to go to school to become a dental hygienist. She said a motive for the crime was unclear, adding that the two women had not met before that night.
"Motive has eluded everybody, I think. I have no idea," Jacobs said. "It's just really inexplicable."
Theriault-Odom faces life in prison with the possibility of parole when she is sentenced next month.