Last October, as we've reported, firefighters responding to a fire at a home in unincorporated Arapahoe County made a grisly discovery. Inside was the body of Teresa "Terry" Ausmus — and an autopsy confirmed that she'd been stabbed to death before the blaze started; our previous coverage has been incorporated into this post.
Now, Andrew Ausmus, Terry's ex-husband, has been convicted of the crime — and he'll spend the rest of his life behind bars.
As detailed by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, the tragic story came to authorities' attention at around 1:10 a.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2015.
That's when a passerby called 911 after seeing active flames and smoke emanating from a residence at 4185 South County Road 157 — Terry's home.
Firefighters raced to the scene, and while battling the blaze, they discovered a woman's body in the garage of the home.
The woman was dragged outside — but unfortunately, she was already dead.
Evidence collected at the scene led to the issuance of an arrest order for Andrew at 1 a.m. on Monday, October 19, and when authorities tracked him down later that morning, he was a considerable distance from the crime scene.
He was reportedly
taken into custody at Denver's Confluence Park around 11:30 a.m.
The ACSO credited "an observant citizen" with spotting Andrew and informing authorities.
Terry, a United Airlines worker employed at Denver International Airport, wasn't immediately identified as the victim of the crime.
However, relatives quickly began sharing their grief online.
A Facebook post by one relative read in part, "He...murdered my little sister."
Shortly thereafter, Andrew's court records surfaced
, and the information they contained was damning.
Ausmus was said to have regularly consumed alcohol "to the point of intoxication," as well as being both verbally and physically abusive. Andrew allegedly used profane language against Terry and would block hallways and doorways to restrict her movements.
"He is a large person, and I fear for myself that I am in danger if he is allowed back at the house," one report quoted Terry as saying.
Such actions reportedly
led Terry to file multiple protection orders against Ausmus, both before and after their 2014 divorce.
At trial, investigators revealed that Terry Ausmus had bought her former husband's share of the home, which they'd purchased jointly, around the time of their split — but on October 16, according to the 18th Judicial District DA's office, she agreed to meet him there so that he could retrieve some personal belongings.
She didn't realize that Ausmus had already given away many of his belongings, with a witness later saying, "He was moving on. He was done. There was nothing left for him."
That was enough for the jury. Earlier this week, they found Ausmus guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree arson; the fire had been started with the use of an accelerant.
Afterward, District Court Judge Ben Leutwyler III sentenced Ausmus, 59, to life in prison without possibility of parole.
District Attorney George Brauchler issued the following statement about the tragic case: “Some marriages regrettably end in divorce. No marriage should end in cold-blooded murder. Andrew Ausmus could not get past his failed marriage to move on with the rest of his life. No woman should fear for her life when she makes a decision to end a relationship. Because of what he did to Teresa, Andrew Ausmus will spend the rest of his life paying the price for murder.”