Murder Trial Ends in Acquittal After Queens Couple is Engulfed in Flames
The woman, disfigured after being badly burned, is at the center of a disturbing murder trial.
Prosecutors alleged that 50-year-old Agnes Bermudez, a former Wall Street trader, ignited her 32-year-old boyfriend on fire and in the process, accidentally torched herself, all in a fit of jealous rage.
A witness says the woman could be heard shouting this at her former lover:
"I'm going to kill you. I already know about the girl. You think I'm stupid? You're going to pay for this!"
It happened in a second floor apartment building in Queens, New York. Agnes was alone with her boyfriend and they got into an argument. She testified that it was her boyfriend who doused her with a flammable solution, momentarily blinding her. Then she said, all of the sudden, "Poof! Blue flame."
They made their way down the steps to the door and ran outside, where the horrific scene was caught on surveillance cameras.
On the sidewalk, video shows both Agnes Bermudez and her ex, William Salazar, totally engulfed in flames. You can see Salazar running into a store for help. Bermudez is crouched in a ball of flames outside.
Two good Samaritans came on the scene and desperately poured water on the couple that they got from a grocery store nearby.
Finally, the flames were extinguished.
As Bermudez struggled to get up, Salazar removed his tattered and burned shirt. He was in a state of shock and when firefighters arrived on the scene, he was still standing. But he was doomed. He suffered burns over 50 percent of his body. Four days later, William Salazar died.
Tragically, a family of three who lived in an apartment inside the building also died in the quick-moving blaze.
Agnes Bermudez was charged with four counts of murder. But, her attorney, David McGruder, said the DA was charging the wrong person.
"He set the fire to be clear. He set the fire," McGruder said.
Last week the jury reached a verdict. Agnes Bermudez was acquitted of all counts. The jurors said the prosecution failed to prove its case.
While she can now walk out a free woman, the once attractive Wall Street executive is forced to live with the scars of that tragic day for the rest of her life.
Agnes Bermudez has undergone 15 surgeries to treat her burns.