MURRAY, Utah — A Utah man who spent time in prison for fatally stabbing a man in 2010 is now accused of dousing his pregnant girlfriend with an accelerant and setting her on fire.
Andrew Todd Curtis, 44, of Moab, was charged Friday with attempted aggravated murder, according to Salt Lake County jail records. He is being held without bail.
Curtis' girlfriend, identified by her family as 34-year-old Carole Gilmore, suffered burns over more than 75% of her body in the Oct. 22 attack, according to KUTV in Salt Lake City. As of Monday, she had undergone five surgeries and was still fighting for her life in the burn unit of the University of Utah Hospital.
“She has none of her own skin to graft,” her sister, Jimmy Lee Gilmore, told the news station. “They predicted at least, if she survives, a year in the burn trauma unit.”
“There’s not a lot of worse things to me than death, but being lit on fire? That’s, like, monstrous.”
The fetus' condition was not made known. Curtis said he is the father, police said.
It was not clear how long the couple had been dating, but Curtis was released from prison in April. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that he pleaded guilty in 2011 to the stabbing death of William Paul Tague, 32, of Denver, outside a Denny’s restaurant in Moab the previous December.
According to Murray police officials, officers were called just before 3 a.m. Oct. 22 to a Studio 6 motel, where they found Carole Gilmore suffering from severe burns. Witnesses told investigators that she and Curtis had been arguing and that he’d assaulted her the previous night.
People staying at the motel with the couple told detectives Gilmore had asked them not to let Curtis back into the room because of the assault and their “extensive physically abusive relationship,” court records obtained by the Tribune said.
Gilmore, who was able to speak to investigators despite her injuries, told police she’d gone outside to smoke a cigarette moments before she was attacked.
Witnesses said Curtis “ran up to the victim and threw a cup of clear liquid onto the victim.”
“The cup was described as a soda cup used for fountain drinks at gas stations,” the affidavit said, according to the News. “They said that the suspect then spit on the victim and lit an object in his hand and set the victim on fire.”
Murray police officers who responded to the scene began rendering medical aid to the victim.
“Andrew Todd Curtis did this to me,” Gilmore told officers, according to the court documents. “The man came up to me and said, ‘You’re going to burn, b----’ and sprayed me with this (expletive).”
Her statement was recorded by an officer’s body camera, the Tribune reported.
Curtis fled the scene on foot, leading police to issue a bulletin for his arrest. He was taken into custody about eight hours later at a 7-Eleven about a mile from the motel.
When arrested, Curtis was carrying a bag that smelled of fuel, police said. He had changed into clean clothes, but his bag held clothes covered in accelerant.
He also had a lighter in his possession, the Tribune reported.
The court records, which were also obtained by KUTV, indicated that Curtis and Gilmore had traveled to Murray from Idaho Falls, Idaho. Before the fiery attack, Curtis had called police to report that Gilmore had stolen his vehicle.
While making the report, Curtis saw his vehicle parked across the street, the news station reported. It had broken windows and other damage.
Witnesses said the couple started arguing at that point.
The couple’s friends were not the only ones who knew about their abusive relationship. The News reported that an agent with Utah’s Adult Probation and Parole told detectives they had tried multiple times to get Gilmore away from Curtis because they knew he was a danger to her.
He was apparently also violent toward his own family.
“During a phone call with a Murray City victim advocate, the victim’s mother stated Todd recently tried to set his mom’s house on fire,” according to the arrest affidavit.
The alleged attack on Gilmore is the latest incident in a long history of violence on Curtis' part. He was initially charged with first-degree murder in Tague’s Dec. 12, 2010, stabbing death.
A plea bargain reduced the charge to third-degree criminal homicide, the Moab Times-Independent reported. Other charges, including aggravated assault for holding the knife to a woman’s neck before he killed Tague, were dropped.
At the time of Tague’s death, Curtis was on parole. He had spent eight years in the Utah State Prison for a 2002 shooting in the parking lot of a bar in Moab.
Curtis was sentenced to up to five years in prison for Tague’s killing, on top of having to serve the remainder of his prior sentence after violating his parole, the newspaper said.
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