- Associated Press - Thursday, May 4, 2017

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The November 2015 burning death of a woman who claimed she had been set on fire outside the Wyoming bar she owned was an accident, a coroner has ruled.

Carbon County Coroner Paul Zamora said Thursday that the investigation did not support Denise King Martinez’s story that someone had thrown gasoline on her, KTWO-AM (bit.ly/2pL9vFV) reported. Investigators also determined she was due to report to prison in a few days to serve up to a six-year sentence and that she had methamphetamine in her system.

Investigators said Martinez, 47, caught fire after going out to the bar patio and standing near an operating grill. She ran back into the bar with her clothes on fire and a bucket of mop water was poured on her to extinguish the flames.

She repeatedly said someone had thrown gas on her, but no one asked her who before she lost consciousness. She suffered burns over 75 percent of her body and died days later.

Investigators found a lighter and a bowl with a small amount of gasoline in it in the parking lot of the County 6 Bar in Rawlins and determined that she had purchased the bowl just hours earlier. They did not find any evidence of splatter that would indicate gasoline had been thrown.

Earlier in the evening, Martinez had kicked a man out of the bar and then reported he was making threatening phone calls. The investigation revealed Martinez fabricated the calls.

Four other fires, two at a next door business and two at the bar in October 2015, were determined to have been intentionally set, investigators said.

An autopsy found a “fairly significant amount of methamphetamine in her system,” Zamora said.

Martinez was due to report to prison in a few days after the fire to begin serving a three- to six-year sentence for obtaining property by false pretenses. It was to be her third prison term.


Information from: KTWO-AM, https://www.k2radio.com/

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