A Stafford County woman was convicted of first-degree murder Friday in the burning death of her husband more than two years ago.
Lisa Schulken Bartosch, 54, entered an Alford plea to the murder charge in Stafford Circuit Court. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges there is sufficient evidence for a conviction.
In exchange for her plea, charges of aggravated malicious wounding and arson were dropped.
Scott “Chip” Bartosch, 51, died on May 29, 2017, as the result of injuries he suffered 28 days earlier at his home on Devonshire Lane in the Hampton Oaks subdivision. According to prosecutors Lori DiGiosia and Amy Casey, he suffered third-degree burns over more than half of his body.
Lisa Bartosch, who had no prior criminal record, will be sentenced Dec. 16. Her agreement calls for her to receive an active prison term within the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which call for between 20 and 35 years.
The evidence showed that the Bartosches had been married since 1986 and raised four children together. Prosecutors said Lisa Bartosch had a good reputation in the community and that no one, including the children, were aware of any significant marital issues.
The day before the incident, prosecutors said, the couple attended a Washington Nationals game and appeared to have a good time.
But apparently no one close to Lisa Bartosch, including her husband, was aware that the family home had been foreclosed on in March 2017 and sold. Lisa Bartosch handled the couple’s finances and had stopped consistently paying the mortgage around 2013, the evidence showed.
The Bartosches received a summons on April 18, 2017, to a hearing on May 1 of that year in a Stafford court regarding their pending eviction from the home. DiGiosia said Chip Bartosch apparently knew nothing about the summons.
On the day of the scheduled hearing, according to the prosecution evidence, Lisa Bartosch doused her sleeping husband with gasoline and set him on fire. He eventually ran outside screaming in pain and told a neighbor that his wife had “doused me with gasoline and lit me on fire. She is trying to kill me.”
DiGiosia said a naked Lisa Bartosch was pursuing her burned husband carrying two knives, but was intercepted by a man who took the knives away from her.
On his way to the hospital, Bartosch asked medical workers to tell his children and grandchildren that he loved them. He lost consciousness shortly after that and never regained it prior to dying in a Washington, D.C., burn unit.
Lisa Bartosch’s case lingered in the court system primarily due to issues regarding her mental health. She was eventually deemed sane and competent to stand trial, and an eight-day trial had been scheduled to start next week.
Attorney Terence Patton is representing Bartosch.