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Victim describes being set on fire at ex-boyfriend’s sentencing

01/23/2018 1:13 PM |

A Calverton man who in December pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder for setting his girlfriend on fire in May was officially sentenced to 10 years in state prison by state Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen Tuesday morning.

Ryan Osborne, 30, was indicted by a grand jury in May on eight charges, including second-degree assault and second-degree arson. His sentence includes five years supervised probation. Mr. Osborne was issued an order of protection that is not set to expire until 2041.

In the Riverhead courtroom Tuesday morning, assistant district attorney Dana Brown read a statement by the 34-year-old victim, who stood by her side.

The statement recounted the May 17 incident when he poured kerosene on both her and the tent where she was sleeping, then set them aflame. She had been sleeping in a wooded area near Mr. Osborne’s home.

The victim described feeling a cold liquid on her legs and hearing Mr. Osborne say, “This is kerosene, I’m going to light you on fire.”

She recalled the sound of flames engulfing the tent, “a loud whooshing” sound that wakes her up at night, according to her statement. She recounted how she then felt fear and “excruciating pain” and she dove through a wall of fire and saw Mr. Osborne run away. She ran, on “barefoot, burnt, black feet” and pounded on a stranger’s door calling for help, according to the statement.

The victim’s statement also described her recovery— how she needed a walker, then crutches to get around and how she could not go out into the sun or else risk blistering.

“Today, my scars are subsiding,” her statement said. She noted the psychological and emotional consequences of the incident, and asking herself questions such as “What did I do to deserve this?” and “How am I supposed to trust people again?”

“Next time you feel such anger…” she wrote, “don’t get involved.”

Ms. Brown said she was impressed with the victim’s statement and presence in court. She said she hopes Mr. Osborne thinks about what he did each day behind bars.

Defense attorney Rachit Anand said Mr. Osborne is “very remorseful” and sorry for the pain and suffering he caused. He said Mr. Osborne is not an evil person and “malice does not reside in his heart.” He described Mr. Osborne’s “less than ideal childhood” that include physical and sexual abuse, as well as a dependency on alcohol that lead to substance abuse and factors to be considered in the sentencing.

Mr. Osborne indicated he would use his sentence to better himself, Mr. Anand said before his client spoke.

“I’m very sorry about what I’ve done,” Mr. Osborne said. “She didn’t deserve it. Nobody deserves that.”

Before issuing the sentence, Justice Cohen told the victim she was a brave and courageous person and called her “a person of great fortitude to face this person.” He echoed the idea that Mr. Osborne should use the sentence to better himself.

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