HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas jury sentenced a woman on Friday to life in prison for stabbing her boyfriend to death with the 5-1/2-inch stiletto heel of her shoe during an argument after an alcohol-fueled night out last year.
Ana Trujillo, 45, was convicted on Tuesday of killing University of Houston professor Stefan Andersson, 59, who had been stabbed about two dozen times in the face and head during an altercation at his upscale condominium.
“I didn’t mean to kill him,” Trujillo told Judge Brock Thomas after hearing the sentence. She had said she acted in self-defense when she hit Andersson.
Jurors took less than two hours to convict Trujillo of murder and the same jury deliberated for several hours on Friday before deciding that she should serve life in prison.
Sandra Guerra Thompson, director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston Law Center said the life sentence was a rarity for a woman in Texas.
“Women who commit violent homicides are a very small percentage of the criminal justice system and the statutory maximum comes down significantly if it’s found to be a crime of passion,” Thompson said.
Jurors were asked to determine whether or not Trujillo had acted with passion in the killing last June. Had they determined that Trujillo’s actions were ignited by passion, she could have received no more than 20 years in prison.
During the main part of the trial, several witnesses testified that Trujillo was prone to unprovoked violence when drinking.
“I have problems expressing myself,” Trujillo told jurors after taking the stand in the penalty phase of the trial.
In more than six hours of testimony, Trujillo cried and said Andersson had a shoe fetish and a bumper sticker that said “I Love Stilettos.”
Trujillo is allowed to appeal. The sentence will remain unchanged, however, unless the conviction is overturned.
A native of Sweden, Andersson taught at the university’s Center for Nuclear Receptor and Cell Signaling, specializing in women’s reproductive health, the school said.
(Corrects name of law institute director to Sandra Guerra Thompson instead of Sandra Guerra and Criminal Justice Institute instead of Criminal Law Institute, paragraphs 5-6)
Reporting by Amanda Orr; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Grant McCool