ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – An Anchorage woman is being held on $1 million bond after being accused of setting a gasoline-fueled fire to kill her boyfriend.
Gina Virgilio, 25, was arraigned Monday on first-degree murder, reckless endangerment and assault and two counts each of arson and criminal mischief.
She’s charged in Friday’s death of her live-in boyfriend, Michael Gonzalez, 24.
“Sure,” Virgilio said when asked if she would like an attorney appointed to represent her. She appeared behind glass in the jail courtroom at the Anchorage Correctional Complex. She wore a yellow jail jumpsuit and her hands were shackled behind her back with metal cuffs during the hearing, which lasted just over three minutes.
According to charging documents, police claim Virgilio’s mother, Michelle, and a registered nurse at an Anchorage hospital both claimed she confessed to them that she committed the murder.
The judge on Monday ordered she have no contact with potential witnesses, including her mother.
“I’m like shocked, hurt that he said she couldn’t contact me,” Michelle Virgilio told reporters following the hearing. “She is my world.”
According to the charging documents, police allege Gina Virgilio went to a nearby convenience store and bought gas in a container, even though her vehicle was not working and tagged for towing in the apartment complex.
She returned to the apartment early Friday morning. Her boyfriend was asleep on the couch and she sat next to him and looked at him. According to the charging documents, she then doused the couch and the area around it, positioned herself at the front door, lit some paper and threw the burning paper into the apartment.
She then fled, walked to a nearby elementary school and borrowed someone’s cellphone to call her mother, the charging documents say.
At that time, according to the documents, Virgilio told her mother Gonzalez had been drinking with friends. Later, he began taking sips of the gasoline, spitting it out on the carpet and couch. Michelle Virgilio is quoted in the charging documents as saying that her daughter said Gonzalez was using an aerosol can as a flame thrower.
The Anchorage Fire Department responded to the apartment fire at 2:25 a.m. Friday, and found Gonzalez’s body after the fire was extinguished.
Police say they tracked Gina Virgilio to her mother’s house and she was taken in for interviews.
“Gina’s statements through the day changed when confronted with physical details from the scene of the fire,” the charging documents say.
Police released her about 7:30 p.m. Friday. By 10 p.m., she and her mother were at the emergency room for an undisclosed reason. Police Lt. Dave Parker said she wasn’t injured in the fire.
During the intervening 2 1/2 hours before arriving at the hospital, according to a summarized interview with Michelle Virgilio in the charging documents, she confronted her daughter about what happened.
Gina Virgilio confessed to her mother to getting the gas and setting the fire, according to the charging documents.
“Gina described the gas as igniting. Michael woke. Gina described Michael as saying, `hot-hot.’ Gina said that she closed the door with Michael inside the apartment and ran from the location,” according to the document’s summary of their interview with her mother.
Police returned to the hospital Saturday morning when staff members reported she had made confessions to the fire, according to the documents. A registered nurse told an officer Virgilio called her into her room.
According to a summary in the charging documents, the nurse “said that Gina was not medicated and that Gina told her, `I did it, I killed Michael.”
Talking to reporters outside the jail courthouse, Michelle Virgilio said she read that published account and disputed some of the facts, including that her daughter spread gasoline over the victim and couch. Instead, she says her daughter told her she spread the gasoline in front of the bathroom.
“Gina, she wouldn’t hurt nobody, she wouldn’t,” Virgilio said. “Something caused her to do that.”
She said for the past month, her daughter has been suffering severe mental depression.
“I know the last month or two, something was really wrong at that house,” she said.
Just days before the fire, Michelle Virgilio said she won court custody of Gina’s 3-year-old son, saying the apartment was not a safe place for a child.
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