Bradford R. Fenocchio
PLACER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 240
Roseville, California 95678
For Immediate Release
Date: June 16, 2009
Public information Officer
Acting Assistant District Attorney
FORESTHILL WOMAN IS SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS
IN STATE PRISON FOR SETTING BOYFRIEND ON FIRE
A 21-year-old Foresthill woman who threw gasoline on her boyfriend during an argument and set him on fire has been sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading guilty to an assault charge.
The defendant, Traci Nicole Gilson, was also ordered by Placer County Superior Court Judge Jeff Penney to make restitution of $27,630 to help pay the victim’s medical bills.
The sentence was imposed Monday after Gilson had tried for the past month to withdraw her guilty plea, which she had made on March 11. She had also admitted to a special allegation of causing great bodily injury.
Gilson’s family hired a new attorney who tried to convince Judge Penney that her client made an uninformed decision when her previous lawyer worked out a plea deal with Placer County Deputy District Attorney Joe McInerney.
However, McInerney told the court that the defendant discussed the plea deal with the previous attorney and signed and initialed all of the appropriate documents that spelled out the agreement.
Gilson’s previous attorney testified in a hearing last week that his client faced a potential sentence of 15 years or more in prison if found guilty in a trial. She was charged with assault likely to cause great bodily injury, arson causing great bodily injury, vandalism, petty theft and battery on a shopkeeper.
The plea deal called for four years in prison for the assault and the special allegation. All the other charges were to be dropped, the previous attorney said.
After taking the arguments from the attorneys under submission, Penney returned to the court Monday and ruled that Gilson failed to provide evidence that the guilty plea was made by mistake or inadvertence.
Gilson and her new attorney, Linda Parisi, then agreed to proceed with an immediate sentencing.
The incident involving Gilson and her then boyfriend occurred in November as the two were arguing in a car. After tossing gasoline from a can on him, she used an incendiary device to spark the fire.
The victim suffered severe burns to his hands and to the right side of his face. His car also sustained major damage.