Houston resident Ana Trujillo, who was convicted of murdering her boyfriend with the heel of her stiletto, has just been sentenced to life in prison. Trujillo cried in court when the verdict was read late Friday afternoon. An AP reporter in the courtroom described the killer's reaction as "silently crying."
The case, dubbed the "Texas Stiletto Trial," has made international headlines due to its sensational, horrific nature. On June 9 of last year, Trujillo bludgeoned to death her 59-year-old boyfriend and University of Houston medical researcher Dr. Steffan Andersson by hitting him in the head and face 25 times with the 5 1/2-inch heel of her shoe.
The crime scene at his luxury apartment in the Museum District was reportedly so gruesome that police initially believed the victim had been shot in the face.
The crime scene at the luxury Houston apartment was reportedly so gruesome that police initially believed the victim had been shot in the face.
Trujillo's attorney Jack Carroll claimed his client was simply defending herself when Andersson — whom the defense described as an abusive alcoholic — attacked her, so she used the only weapon she had available: her shoe. Those size 9 blue suede stilettos — covered in Andersson's blood and hair — were prominently on display for the jury during the trial.
The prosecution, however, showed that Trujillo did not fight back in self-defense, saying she never told the 911 dispatcher or police that she was in danger. "Self-defense is only when you are in fear for your life," said prosecutor John Jordan. "When did we hear that Ana was in fear for her life? Never."
The prosecutor also noted that a neighbor reported a man's scream at 2:13 am but heard no sound from a female. "This is not self-defense, this is a vicious murder," said Jordan during his closing arguments on Tuesday. "To suggest that this was anything close to self-defense is offensive."
After deliberating for only two hours on Tuesday, the jury found Trujillo guilty of Andersson's murder, rejecting her claim of self-defense. Trujillo showed little emotional reaction when the verdict was read. The jury reassembled on Friday to complete the sentencing phase.
Obviously disturbed by her possible fate, Trujillo sobbed throughout Friday's closing statements.
The defense's strategy was to suggest that she acted in "sudden passion" — which reduces the sentence to between two and 20 years — and asked jurors to give her a two-year sentence. According to a Tweet from Associated Press writer Juan Lozano, Carroll told the jury that Trujillo "hit [Andersson] 25 times because she did what she had to."
The prosecution asked jurors to reject her claim of "sudden passion" and decide upon the maximum sentence. And that's what they did.
"Ana Trujillo beat her intimate partner to death, and that's what makes her so dangerous," said assistant Harris County district attorney Sarah Mickelson. "That's why she should go to prison for the rest of her life."
"Send a message that in Texas we hold murderers — even female murderers — accountable," said Jordan in his closing statements on Friday, according to a Tweet from Rekha Muddaraj of KHOU 11 News. Jordan was also reported to have said, "She is crazy, she is scary crazy."
After deliberating, jurors decided upon the maximum possible sentence. If they had found her to have acted with "sudden passion," her maximum sentence would have been 20 years. Instead, Trujillo will be serving life in prison.