A Holiday Nightmare

March 4, 2010

Tags: Adam Lambert, Terri Sanvincente, Jason Bouchard, Houston murder, Kathryn Casey

by Kathryn Casey

You probably wouldn't have noticed him in the crowd, the bearded, 36-year-old man at Wal-Mart two days before Christmas, scouring the tool aisle. He picked up one item after another, examining each, perhaps testing their weight, considering how they were made, the quality of a hatchet, a machete, and a variety of knives. What Jason Bouchard settled on, what he paid the cashier for and walked out the door with, was a crowbar.

Miles away at her Houston home, Terri Sanvincente, a well-known Adam Lambert fan and an assistant manager at a Walgreen's drug store, worried about Bouchard, a man she'd once loved who'd systematically tormented her life.

Two years earlier, she'd had the ex-army paratrooper formally evicted from their home. The separation, however, had dragged on, with Bouchard seeking custody of their three children, ages eight, six and three. Yet that, too, had recently been settled in Sanvincente's favor; six weeks earlier, after an 18-month battle, jurors granted primary custody to Sanvincente. Perhaps it wasn't surprising. At the hearing, Bouchard, who represented himself, surprisingly well, one expert says, admitted drug use and frequent masturbation. The jury ruled that he'd be allowed only supervised visits with his children.

Forty-year-old Sanvincente, it would later appear, took little comfort in the ruling. She continued to worry that she and her children (one dressed as Lambert on the right) remained in danger from a man who'd pushed her and hurled constant insults. “She was always afraid of what he was going to do next,” said Tabitha Charlton, Sanvincente's first family attorney, who walked away from the case fearing for her own safety. “Jason is brilliant in an evil way.”

In the wake of the court decision, Sanvincente became obsessed with protecting her children. She fretted constantly about Bouchard, what he was planning, what he might do to her, to their children. In hindsight, it would seem wisely so.

Last Christmas morning at four a.m., Bouchard parked in front of 16411 Sky Blue, Sanvincente's home, the one in which his three children, their mother and a babysitter slept. With him, he carried the newly purchased crowbar and a gallon gas can. Outside the house, he pulled up the hood on his sweatshirt to cover his head from a stormy night, then walked to the back of the house. Once there, he poured gasoline on a window ledge near the door and ignited it, to trap those inside. As the fire spread, Bouchard circled the house to his children's bedroom. It was there that he used the crowbar for its first intended purpose: breaking the window. Inside, his eight-year-old son heard the commotion, saw the fire, and ran to wake the others. Later Bouchard would say, "I was proud of him at that moment. He wasn't afraid anymore. He took charge."

By then, Bouchard was on his way to the front door. He wasn't finished.

Beating on the door, he waited for Sanvincente. When the door opened, her mind must have been swimming, so much that at first she misjudged the situation. "Have you called them yet?" she asked Bouchard, most likely referring to 911 and the fire department.

"Called who?" he replied. Later, he'd say, her eyes grew wide.

"Oh, my God," she cried. It was then that Bouchard used the crowbar for its second purpose, pummeling Sanvincente. With the first blow to the face, she fell, shouting at her children to run. But Bouchard didn't stop. In all, he struck her at least twenty times, while his two sons watched.

Apparently believing he'd accomplished what he'd come for, Bouchard woke up neighbors, who rescued the children. When police arrived, he surrendered. "I don't think she knew I was going to kill her," he'd say later. "... I thought I'd killed her, yet she lived another fourteen hours."

Why did he savagely beat the mother of his children? In a rare admission, Bouchard gives insight into the psychology of such killers. In a chilling letter to the Houston Chronicle, he wrote: "Killing Terri Sanvincente was my only option left before too much time under Terri Sanvincente's manipulation and influence forever took them down a path of future self-hatred ..."

What Bouchard's letter to the Chronicle gives us is a window into his diseased mind. What we see is a man without remorse, one who has manipulated facts and events to justify his actions and feels blameless. Killers like Bouchard feel entitled. It's what they want that counts.

The rest of us are expendable.


  1. March 6, 2010 10:17 AM EST
    I knew Terri, and Jason is like that lawyer says, EVIL
    - Anonymous
  2. April 13, 2010 1:44 PM EDT
    I met with Terri and the children once a week to discuss her families fear and concern. I too had Ben threatened and harassed by Jason
    - a caring friend and confidant
  3. June 3, 2010 2:36 PM EDT
    When does this monster go on trial? Have the children been able to be placed with family back East? (as previous news articles have stated). Please keep updates on this story posted on your Blog. This story will not leave my mind or my nightmares alone.
    - alexandra
  4. June 18, 2010 10:11 AM EDT
    my name is seth and terri is my best friend and soulmate. terri and i had planned for me to fly to houston in the latter part of may, early june, for a vacation to see each other and meet her wonderful children that i had heard and seen pictures of since the day the first was born. her 3rd child is actually named after my best friend who passed away 12-21-94. terri and i talked on the phone the night of the 23rd, about 9 hours before she was violently beaten. we were planning the dates for me to arrive so she would now when to schedule her vacation time with work. it had been ten years since i'd seen her and after a divorcew myself, was immensely looking forward to seeing her and finally meeting her beautiful babies. i still have the 7 texts on my phone from the night of the 23rd, about a pic i sent her of me. i will never erase them. i recently got a new phone and had them transfered to my new phone. ten years....... and this was going to be one of the most greatest times of our lives......... the last time i saw her in person was 10 years ago, in may also...i went there to help her financially in buying a new vehicle for herself and to visit with my bestfriend. needless to say, when i get there, this neighbor who lived in the apartment below her had recently grown fond of her. lets just say hindsight is always 20/20... anyways, he "offered me" his place to sleep at night during my visit and to play his guitar whenever i felt like it. um ,, no...so i called a cab for a ride to a local hotel but terri insisted on taking me. as long as she promised this new loser friend of hers "nothing" would happen between her and i. she kept her promise and off she went, crying and apologizing for her loser friends actions the night before. thats the last time i saw my terri marie. so not only once but twice! this loser has "spoiled" mine and terris plans to be together. so he thinks...... this loser just made it possible for terri and i to be together forever! U HEAR THAT U @#$%^&* LOSER!!??!! THERE ARE NO WORDS OR ACTIONS THAT WOULD EXPLAIN OR MAKE ME FEEL AT PEACE WITH THIS SENSELESS EVENT! YOU'RE A GOD DAM CHILD MOLESTER AND A MURDERER!! but its not up to me to decide what is going to be done with you. and for that you should consider yourself lucky. what you are going to get is nothig even CLOSE TO WHAT SHOULD BE DONE!!!
    i miss you and think of you everyday terri marie and as u know my 3 year old daughter shares the same birthday as you. her middle name is danika. for the same reason your youngest boys name is daniel. so im still coming to houston to see you in a month or so. not to say goodbye, but to tell you I LOVE YOU, ALWAYS AND FOREVER. you will ALWAYS BE MY BABYDOLL. NOBODY CAN TAKE THAT FROM US
    - seth
  5. July 3, 2010 8:55 PM EDT
    I have also been trying to find out when Bouchard's case goes to trial. It's been a while since reading about the murder, and it continues to grasp me. Not a day goes by without thinking about Terri. We had been friends through many trials and tribulations in CA, but never forgot each other even though she moved far away. Part of me died that night last December, and I want to make sure justice is honored for her soul and children.
    - Debbie
  6. August 5, 2010 11:06 PM EDT
    This is a horrendous case, and I am so sorry for all of you who knew Terri. I haven't heard when the trial will take place, but when I do, I'll try to post here to alert all of you!
    - Kathryn Casey
  7. January 29, 2012 12:52 PM EST
    You should follow up on this case. The DA is not seeking the death penalty (no reasoning), and the children are doing very well being raised by Terri's best friend Dawn. Dawn is amazing and they are so lucky to have her. The killer's trial is set for this summer.
    - friend
  8. April 10, 2013 12:08 AM EDT
    Jason Bouchard's trial started Thursday, 4-4-13. He fired his court-appointed attorney(s) and is representing himself.

    The State wrapped up its case against Bouchard on Tuesday, 4-9-13. Closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday, 4-10-13.

    Bouchard will receive an automatic life sentence if convicted.

    - AnnTx