Woman who was doused with gasoline and burned to death as her two sons watched was murdered, jury rules | VailDaily.com

Woman who was doused with gasoline and burned to death as her two sons watched was murdered, jury rules

GEORGETOWN — A mother of two was intentionally burned to death and the man who did it will spend the rest of his life in prison.

A jury convicted John Vasquez, 34, of dousing Christina Archuleta-Blasier with gasoline, chasing her and setting her on fire as her two young sons watched in horror.

During the four-week trial, Vasquez claimed it was an accident. The jury did not believe him. His Tuesday, June 19, sentencing is largely a formality, since a murder conviction in Colorado carries a mandatory life sentence, without the possibility of parole.

"We are happy to receive justice for Christina today," said Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial district attorney, who prosecuted the case with Bryan Garrett, deputy district attorney. "This case was an example of incredible teamwork of so many in the first-responder community and the tenacity of Christina's family to see through so many court hearings and a lengthy trial. We are gratified for this result but continue to mourn the loss of a beautiful woman."

How Vasquez murdered Archuleta-Blasier

On June 17, 2016, Vasquez, of Arvada, doused Archuleta-Blasier with gasoline at a wilderness campsite during a late-night impromptu camping trip to the Barbour Forks area of the Arapahoe National Forest, south of Idaho Springs.

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During an argument about his drinking and how it violated a court order, Vasquez chased her down, threw gasoline on her and lit her on fire.

The blaze left Archuleta-Blasier with third- and fourth-degree burns over 60 percent of her body. Her sons bravely tried to rescue their mother, calling first responders to the wilderness campsite. Her 6-year-old son suffered second-degree burns while attempting to extinguish the flames that were enveloping his mother. He has since fully recovered.

Both boys recounted the horror of that early-morning murder during the trial.

A Flight for Life helicopter rushed Archuleta-Blasier to the University of Colorado Hospital Burn Unit, where she fought to stay alive for 33 days. Finally, on July 20, 2016, she died without being able to communicate how she received her injuries.

Not Vasquez' first attack

This was not Vasquez' first time to attack Archuleta-Blasier.

Vasquez was convicted in October 2015 of domestic violence against Archuleta-Blasier. After that incident, Archuleta-Blasier recorded Vasquez making excuses for dropping and breaking her television when they argued over the remote control.

In the murder trial, Vasquez claimed that setting Archuleta-Blasier on fire was "an accident." But when the jury heard the audio recording from the television incident, they became convinced that her burning death was no accident but an intentional act.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

John Vasquez convictions

• Felony murder (arson)

• First-degree and second-degree murder

• Assault causing serious bodily injury

• Child abuse causing serious bodily injury

• Child abuse

• Violation of a protective order

• Criminal impersonation

• Arson