Rick Vosburgh struck a plea bargain with prosecutors six months ago to testify against his wife in the murder-arson trial they faced in the death of their foster daughter.
He testified against Tonya Vosburgh at her preliminary hearing in December, but she, too, agreed to a plea bargain that precluded a long, technical trial in the March 1993 death of Bobbi Jo Womack, 18, in a Layton garage fire.Tonya Vosburgh, 35, pleaded guilty and mentally ill to two second-degree felony counts, manslaughter and insurance fraud. But a hearing this week on her mental condition indicates she faces little incarceration.
Carrying out his end of the agreement, Rick Vosburgh pleaded guilty this week in 2nd District Court to a second-degree felony count of insurance fraud. First-degree felony charges of homicide and aggravated arson that could have put him in prison for life were dismissed.
Judge Rodney S. Page will sentence both Vosburghs, who are now seeking a divorce. Rick Vosburgh, 46, faces a sentence of one to 15 years in prison on July 8; Tonya Vosburgh could be sentenced July 23 to the same terms for her two crimes.
The two were charged with setting a fire in the garage of their Layton home on March 3, 1993, that killed Womack, a mentally and physically disabled girl they were caring for and trying to legally adopt.
According to testimony at Tonya Vosburgh's December preliminary hearing, the couple took out a $100,000 life insurance policy on Womack, falsely representing to an insurance agent she was Tonya Vosburgh's natural daughter and John Vosburgh's stepdaughter.
Womack was white; Tonya Vosburgh is black. The agent testified he never saw Womack and would not have sold the policy if he'd known the girl was disabled.
Womack was left disabled after being struck by a car as a young girl. Tonya Vosburgh met her in a Kaysville group home, according to testimony at the December hearing, where she also learned of a $175,000 trust fund the girl had set up as a settlement after the accident.
Rick Vosburgh testified at the hearing that he was in bed alone and that Tonya was already up and dressed when the fire broke out just after 6 a.m. in their detached garage.
He went around the house, trying to account for everyone, and then went to the garage, Rick Vosburgh testified, but he did not try to go in and get Womack out.
He also testified he first told Layton police a different story to try to protect his wife.
According to expert testimony offered at the hearing, someone splashed a can of gasoline around inside the garage and ignited it, trapping Womack with a wall of flame in a corner, cutting her off from the door.
She died of smoke inhalation but did not suffer any burns, according to testimony.
Resolution of the case was delayed over three years after Tonya Vosburgh suffered a series of falls and head injuries. She was eventually deemed competent to stand trial and then pleaded guilty and mentally ill.
A report submitted to the court this week concluded she has suffered permanent brain damage from a series of strokes, seizures, and brain surgery.