An Anchorage woman accused of burning her boyfriend to death in an East Anchorage arson fire last week, remains in jail Monday on $1 million bail.
Gina Virgilio, 25, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree and third-degree counts of arson and criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and fourth-degree assault.
Court documents say that Friday morning, as 24-year-old Michael Gonzales slept on their couch at the Conifer Grove Apartments at 201 McCarrey St., Virgilio poured gasoline on and around it -- then set it on fire.
According to the documents, Gonzales awakened to the flames in surprise and horror. They quote Gonzales as shouting, in apparent panic, "Hot, hot!"
The charging documents say that as Gonzales was surrounded by the flames, Virgilio left the apartment and ran out onto the street. Gonzales died in the fire.
The exact circumstances of the crime are still in dispute, since Virgilio never directly admitted to detectives that she had set the fire -- but police say she did so to her mother, Michelle Virgilio, and to a nurse at Providence Alaska Medical Center.
After Monday's arraignment, however, Michelle Virgilio said she believed her daughter had set the fatal fire, but denied telling police that her daughter had poured gasoline on the couch where Gonzales was sleeping. She claimed never to have heard that from her daughter, and denied ever having said it to detectives.
She also said that she believed that Gonzales was guilty of mental cruelty to her daughter, and claims that he punched holes in the wall of the East Anchorage apartment that he and Gina shared.
That is not the story that Gonzales' family tells.
"He wasn't a violent guy," Angela Ramirez, Gonzales' stepmother, said after the arraignment. "He was a great guy. He just wanted to provide a happy home for her."
Ramirez does not believe that Gonzales was mentally cruel to Virgilio either. Instead she believes that he had become unhappy with the relationship, and wanted to end it. She believes that Virgilio could not accept such rejection, and did something crazy in the heat of the moment.
"You can't wrap your head around what happened," Ramirez said.
If Virgilio is found guilty of first-degree murder in Gonzales' death, she could be sentenced to life in prison.
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