OCEANSIDE — A convicted felon accused of spraying his ex-wife with gasoline and attempting to light her on fire will have to stand trial on charges relating to the March incident, a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled May 20 at a preliminary hearing in a Vista courtroom.
Danny Vinci, 43, is charged with making a criminal threat, assault with a caustic chemical, resisting arrest and failure to appear in a felony case. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges except for the resisting arrest charge, which he hasn’t answered to yet.
After dousing his ex-wife with gasoline from a water bottle March 11 in front of Dance Unlimited Studio on Industry Street in Oceanside, Vinci fled the scene and remained on the lam until he was arrested March 26.
“If I didn’t get out of the situation, I was going to go up in flames,” the 44-year-old victim testified. The woman’s name has been withheld because it is generally the policy of The Coast News not to disclose the names of domestic violence victims.
As she waited in her car in front of the dance studio for her granddaughter, the victim said she smelled gasoline, and then approximately 20 minutes later she saw the defendant. When she tried to exit, Vinci pinned in her in the car and as she forced the door open he squirted gasoline all over her, the victim testified.
“I heard chick, chick, chick,” she testified, making a motion for the prosecutor as if she was trying to ignite a lighter. With people all around the business, the victim testified she walked backward because she was afraid to turn her back on the defendant.
“I’m positive I saw sparks,” she said.
The victim said she and Vinci got married shortly after they met nearly 16 years ago but divorced soon after. It was only earlier this year that the two met up again and rekindled their love, she said.
Several weeks before the gasoline attack, the victim said Vinci also beat and choked her one morning in her home. Following that attack, which she believed was also an attempt to kill her, she cut off contact with the defendant.
Since 1992, Vinci has been in and out of prison five times for crimes relating to theft, drugs and violence with in San Diego County, according to court documents. In 2000, the defendant picked up his first strike conviction for a criminal threats charge out of San Diego.
Vinci, who remains in custody without bail, now faces up to 27 years in prison. His next scheduled court hearing is June 7.