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Penn Hills woman accused of burning boyfriend, dousing him with urine claims innocence

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 10:24 a.m.
Dillon Carr | Tribune-Review
Grady Spencer III of Penn Hills says his girlfriend, Leigh Ann Sepelyak, did not set him on fire despite charges against her alleging that. He's shown July 11, 2017, in the UPMC Mercy burn unit.
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Leigh Ann Sepelyak, 38, faces charges including attempted homicide, aggravated assault and arson.

Leigh Ann Sepelyak — accused of setting her boyfriend on fire at their Penn Hills residence and dousing the flames with urine — told the Tribune-Review on Monday she is innocent.

“I woke up to it,” Sepelyak said. “I put the fire out, I saved his life. They (police) won't listen to me — it's frustrating.”

She said she will try to fight her case in court once she has an attorney.

“That's the only way I can do this,” Sepelyak said.

Sepelyak had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday before Penn Hills District Justice Anthony Deluca Jr., but it was moved to July 31 because she does not yet have an attorney.

Sepelyak is charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, arson and related charges stemming from the July 8 incident at a house on Lime Hollow Road.

According to police, Sepelyak, 38, and her boyfriend, Grady Spencer III, 31, had an argument, she poured gasoline on his lower body and used a match to set him aflame. She then allegedly doused the flames using a bucket containing urine.

In an interview with the Tribune-Review on July 11, Spencer said the basement they rent doesn't have a bathroom so they use the bucket.

Sepelyak's mother and brother, who live on the main floor of the home, took Spencer to UPMC Mercy early on July 9, and staff there called Penn Hills police.

According to the criminal complaint, police officials at the hospital heard Sepelyak's brother, Thaddeus Sepelyak, “proclaim ‘she lit him up,'” which led to her arrest.

When she described the incident, Sepelyak said the arresting officer held her in an interrogation room for several hours with her hands behind her back.

“My arms went numb,” she said. “They kept questioning me, trying to get me to say I did it.”

Spencer told the Tribune-Review the charges are false and said he accidentally spilled gasoline on himself and carelessly set himself on fire when he lit a cigarette. He has been released from the hospital and was present during Monday morning's preliminary hearing. Sepelyak said she was released from jail Saturday.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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