HOUSTON (AP) - Jurors on Friday began deliberating the sentence of a Houston woman convicted of murder for fatally stabbing her boyfriend with the 5½-inch stiletto heel of her shoe.
Ana Trujillo was convicted Tuesday of striking 59-year-old Alf Stefan Andersson at least 25 times in the face with the heel of her shoe during an argument last June at his Houston condominium. Defense attorneys argued that Trujillo, 45, was defending herself from an attack by Andersson, who was a University of Houston professor and researcher.
During closing arguments in the trial's punishment phase, prosecutor John Jordan asked jurors for the maximum sentence: life in prison. Jordan said Trujillo not only violently killed Andersson but tried to ruin his character during the trial by falsely claiming he had abused her.
"Send the message that in our community, when you beat a man to death for no reason, when you come into a courtroom and you slaughter his good name ... that we in Texas are going to hold you accountable," Jordan said.
Trujillo's attorney, Jack Carroll, asked jurors to find that his client acted in the heat of sudden passion, which would limit her sentence to between two and 20 years. Carroll asked jurors to give her a two-year sentence.
"Ms. Trujillo needs mercy right now," he said. During Carroll's closing argument, Trujillo began crying.
Prosecutors argued Friday that Trujillo didn't kill Andersson in a moment of sudden passion but that his slaying was a vicious murder in which she pinned him down and repeatedly stabbed him with her shoe while he never fought back.
Trujillo took the witness stand on Thursday, telling jurors she was forced to kill Andersson to save her own life during a more than hourlong fight after being chased down, knocked into a wall and thrown over a couch.
During about seven hours of rambling testimony, she testified that she had no idea she had hurt Andersson so badly until she reached for him and realized her hands were full of blood.
Carroll maintained Friday that Trujillo killed Andersson in "pure self-defense" and that "she did what she had to."
"The fact she took a stiletto to his face 25 times and then paraded around town like she's the victim, that's insulting," prosecutor Sarah Mickelson said during closing arguments.
Trujillo also testified she had been repeatedly abused by men and sexually assaulted and that Andersson was a heavy drinker who would get angry with her.
Witnesses presented by prosecutors in the punishment phase detailed Trujillo's criminal history or firsthand experiences in which she became violent toward them when she drank. Trujillo was arrested twice for drunk driving. She had been drinking the night of Andersson's death but her blood alcohol level was not tested, according to testimony.
Jurors on Wednesday heard from Andersson's family and friends, who testified that while he did have a drinking problem, he was a good person who was not violent.