A Colorado man was sentenced to life in prison for dousing his girlfriend with gasoline and setting her on fire in front of her children at a campsite.
John Vasquez, of Arvada, left Christina Archuleta-Blasier with third-degree burns on more than 60 percent of her body after the June 2016 attack at a remote campsite in the Arapahoe National Forest in north-central Colorado, the Denver Post reports. The woman was flown by helicopter to a hospital in critical condition and died about a month later.
Two of her sons witnessed the gruesome attack and her then-6-year-old son suffered severe burns trying to save his mother from the flames as Vasquez laughed, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
In late April, Vasquez was found guilty of first-degree murder and other felonies in connection to the attack.
Prosecutors said Vasquez violated a court order prohibiting him from drinking alcohol, leading to an argument between him and Archuleta-Blasier, who was described in a news release by Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown as a loving mother survived by three children and a “family that will always remember the joy she brought to this world.”
Vasquez initially claimed that the fire was accidental. But after reviewing evidence of him lying before being found guilty of an earlier domestic violence incident, the jury became convinced the campsite attack was intentional.
Vasquez’s actions were “senseless, sick, depraved and despicable,” Chief Judge Mark Thompson said.
In addition to the life sentence, Vasquez also received a consecutive prison term of 20 years for child abuse causing serious bodily injury and one year for criminal impersonation, authorities said.