Wednesday, April 9, 2014
HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston woman was convicted of murder Tuesday for fatally stabbing her boyfriend with the 5½-inch stiletto heel of her shoe, hitting him at least 25 times in the face.
Prosecutors said Ana Trujillo used her high heel shoe to kill 59-year-old Alf Stefan Andersson during an argument at his Houston condominium in June.
Trujillo's attorney had argued the 45-year-old woman was defending herself during an attack by Andersson, a University of Houston professor and researcher.
Trujillo, who faces up to life in prison, showed little emotional reaction when the jury verdict was read. She had been out of jail on bond but was taken into custody after the guilty verdict. The jury, which deliberated for about two hours before reaching its verdict, will begin hearing evidence in the trial's punishment phase Wednesday.
Before she was taken into custody, Trujillo could be overhead speaking in Spanish with some friends, telling them, "''I loved him and he was crazy."
Jack Carroll, Trujillo's attorney, said he was disappointed with the verdict and Trujillo was "taking it a little hard but she's pretty tough."
"I'm hoping that they will be merciful in the punishment," Carroll said, adding he will be asking for a prison sentence of two years.
Prosecutors declined to comment on the case until after a sentence is announced.
During the trial, prosecutors portrayed Trujillo, a native of Mexico, as out of control on the night of the slaying.
Prosecutors told jurors that after a night of drinking, the couple began arguing and during the confrontation, Andersson was injured and fell on his back. Trujillo sat on Andersson, preventing him from getting up and repeatedly struck him in the face and head with her shoe, they said.
"This is not self-defense. This is a vicious murder," prosecutor John Jordan told jurors during closing arguments earlier Tuesday.
Jordan told jurors that Trujillo had a history of violence, reminding them of testimony by two witnesses who said Trujillo had attacked them two weeks before Andersson's death.
James Wells, who had been romantically involved with Trujillo, testified that in an unprovoked attack, Trujillo bit him on his head, pulled skin from his skull, and then told him, "You're a dead man." Chanda Ellison, who had also been romantically involved with Wells, testified she had to use a stick to fend off an attack from Trujillo in her home.
During witness testimony, prosecutors highlighted that Trujillo did not have any injuries from her confrontation with Andersson while the researcher had defensive wounds on his hands and wrists. Trujillo's attorneys argued she did have injuries.
Defense attorneys told jurors Trujillo did the only thing she could do while being attacked: defend herself.
"What would you do if there was the threat of serious bodily injury ... if the threat of death is there? You defend yourself," Carroll said in closing arguments.
Prosecution witnesses portrayed Andersson, a native of Sweden who became a U.S. citizen, as mild-mannered and quiet.
In a video of Trujillo's police interrogation that was played at trial, she told detectives Andersson had become enraged after thinking she was going to leave him, attacked her and that she used the only weapon she had at her disposal — her shoe — to defend herself.
Trujillo told detectives she hit Andersson with her shoe "a couple of times" and didn't realize she had hurt him until she saw blood on the floor. Trujillo told detectives she tried performing CPR on Andersson.
The blue suede stiletto heel — a size 9 platform pump with a 5 1/2-inch heel — was brought out during testimony about the bloody crime scene and also during closing arguments.
In video and photos taken by police at the crime scene, the stiletto heel can be seen lying on the carpeted floor of Andersson's condominium, above his head. A large pool of blood was also near his head, which was bloodied, purple and had several visible wounds.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/juanlozano70.