Danny Vinci splashed gasoline on his ex-wife in a parking lot full of witnesses, on March 11, 2010. The woman had gone to an Oceanside dance studio to pick up her granddaughter, as she always did Wednesday evenings, so Vinci knew where to find her.
“He said, ‘You’re going to die, you fucking bitch,” the woman testified. She said Vinci showed her a lighter in his hand and made sparks trying to light it; “I was going to go up in flames,” she said. Danny Vinci and his ex-wife are both 44 years old.
“He wanted to scare her,” said public defender Kathleen Cannon. “That was wrong, clearly.” The defense attorney said Danny Vinci wanted his ex-wife to be scared, sad, and broken-hearted like he was – but he didn’t want to hurt her. Defense claimed that the lighter Vinci showed his victim could not have made a spark to set her alight.
“No, I don’t believe Vinci’s lighter had the strike wheel missing,” countered the prosecutor. “I believe Vinci had a lighter in his hand and was attempting to light it. The victim saw it and although none of the eyewitnesses saw it, they also did not dispute it. The fact that the defendant had so many lighters in his car and admitted in his letter to [Oceanside police] that there was a lighter tells me that he really had one. The fact that he purchased a lighter after the crime, on 3/17/10, while he already had so many lighters in his car, tells me that he was setting up his defense in this case.”
Two weeks after the gasoline-splashing incident, sheriff’s deputy Jarrett Moyette found a lighter in Vinci’s car that could not make a spark; it was inside an envelope addressed to police officers, with written explanations.
Prosecutor Keith Watanabe charged Danny Vinci with four counts, including felony assault and making criminal threats. At the end of a two-week trial, the jury declared Vinci guilty of all counts on July 21.
Danny Vinci previously served time in prison for at least five separate felonies and has one “strike” for making criminal threats on a different female. Sentencing is set for August 17. The victim from the current case is expected to appear in the Vista courthouse to make a statement.