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Woman pleads guilty to setting man on fire

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Dunbar woman pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to set her former boyfriend on fire.

Cynthia Marie Swoboda, 45, of 17th Street was charged with attempted murder after an incident in May at the CVS pharmacy in Dunbar.

She pleaded guilty in Kanawha Circuit Court to unlawful wounding and was sentenced immediately to one year in South Central Regional Jail. She has already been incarcerated since her arrest May 26 and will receive credit for that time served.

Swoboda told Circuit Judge James Stucky that Shane Stone first poured gasoline on her and she turned on him.

"A man was following me around the parking lot and poured gas on my clothes and I did not act correctly, at all," she said. "And I put gas on him and his clothes and they caught on fire."

When police arrived, Stone's back was red and blistered. He was transported to a local hospital and treated for his injuries.

"I took matters into my own hands; it was wrong," she said. "I took the gas can from him and lit him on fire."

In exchange for her guilty plea, a prosecutor agreed to recommend the one-year jail sentence.

Assistant Prosecutor Chuck Miller said Swoboda had been the victim of violent incidents before involving Stone.

"That does not give her justification, but it's a reason for mitigation," he said.

Swoboda apologized and said, "I did not mean to hurt that man. I did a horrible thing and I'm sorry."

Her defense attorney, Jesse Forbes, told the judge the two are no longer in a relationship. He described them as "a powderkeg."

Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at or 304-348-4832 



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