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Charges Dismissed For Ex-Lawyer Accused Of Setting Woman On Fire

"Freedom is a good thing," he said to WCCO Monday.
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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities attorney jailed and accused of dousing his girlfriend with hair spray and nail polish and then setting her on fire is now a free man.

David Gherity, 61, spent two months in Dakota County Jail after he was charged with first-degree assault and arson. However, charges against him were dropped and he was released from jail Friday.

From the beginning, Gherity maintained his innocence. He said he was in St. Paul working at the time his girlfriend was set on fire. Video surveillance later backed that claim up.

“It just feels good to be out. Freedom is a good thing,” Gherity said.

Gherity says it hard to believe he sat in jail for two months charged with a crime he did not commit.

“They charged me prior to doing a proper investigation, in my opinion,” Gherity said.

Gherity was charged with arson and assault after his girlfriend woke up on fire, back on Feb. 9 inside the condo they shared in Burnsville.

Crews put out the fire and rushed her to the hospital.

According to the criminal complaint, Gherity showed up at the hospital smelling like smoke and soot.

“Anybody who enters a place after a fire will smell like soot,” Gherity said.

But his work had video surveillance of him there at the same time his girlfriend was set on fire in Burnsville.

“It is a legitimate tape and I think everyone agrees that if he was there, he couldn’t have committed this horrific crime,” said Bob Miller, Gherity’s attorney.

“Yes, I care about her. I’ve been with her for 12 years it’s kind of hard not to, “said Gherity.

Gherity says the entire time he was locked up he thought about his girlfriend.

“They prohibited me from talking to her, so I don’t know her location,” Gherity said.
Gherity says what hurts most is he brought his girlfriend to Minnesota and she knew no one else, so she was alone during the ordeal. He knows he cannot get back the time he lost, but he hopes he will get something for what he went through.

“This matter is being referred to a civil attorney,” Miller said.

Investigators are still trying to figure out how Gherity’s girlfriend woke up on fire.

Burnsville Police tell us the investigation is still open. Meanwhile, the Dakota County attorney says he’s standing by its handling of the case. He says they didn’t find out about Gherity’s alibi and video proof until after his arrest.

Gherity has not said if he will consider a lawsuit. He did say it is an option.

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