HOUSTON - A woman convicted of murder for fatally stabbing her Swedish-born boyfriend with a 5 1/2-inch stiletto shoe heel testified Thursday that she loved her boyfriend and was trying to help him become a better person but began to fear him when he became aggressive during their relationship.
Ana Trujillo took the witness stand for the first time during the two-week trial as part of the punishment phase, which will determine her sentence. She faces the possibility of life in prison.
The jury convicted Trujillo on Tuesday of murder in last June's killing of 59-year-old Alf Stefan Andersson at his home. Prosecutors say she pinned him down and stabbed him at least 25 times with the heel of her shoe.
Trujillo's attorneys say Andersson attacked her and she defended herself with the only weapon she had available, her shoe.
She told jurors that Andersson was a heavy drinker who refused to eat and whose mental and physical health began to deteriorate. She said she became afraid of him because at night he would wake up angry, disoriented and start yelling.
When asked by her lawyer, Jack Carroll, why she didn't leave Andersson, Trujillo said, "Because I loved him and I wanted him to get better. I wanted him to stop drinking so much."
But during the testimony, Trujillo did not discuss Andersson in great detail.
During often rambling testimony, Trujillo told jurors she had a history of being sexually or physically abused by men. She said she had been sexually assaulted by her first husband and told jurors that another boyfriend had
kicked her in the stomach when she was pregnant, resulting in a miscarriage.
Trujillo described being attacked in an incident reminiscent of Andersson's slaying. She told jurors a friend in 2009 had tried to rape her in his apartment, pinning her down and that she used the only weapon within reach - a candlestick - to fend him off.
Trujillo's former friend testified Wednesday that it was Trujillo who knocked him out with the candlestick in an unprovoked attack. No charges were filed related to that incident.
She also discussed her upbringing, including growing up in Arizona after being born in Mexico, and her various jobs, including massage therapist, club bouncer and artist.
At times during her verbose testimony, prosecutor John Jordan would ask the judge to instruct Trujillo to not answer her lawyer's questions in the form of narration.
Trujillo's attorney has not yet questioned her in detail about the night Andersson died.
On Wednesday, prosecutors presented 19 witnesses during the trial's punishment phase. Most of the witnesses detailed Trujillo's criminal history or firsthand experiences in which she became violent toward them when she drank. Trujillo was arrested twice for drunken driving, once in 2008 and again in 2010.
A psychologist testifying for the defense told jurors Trujillo had been in a series of violent or abusive relationships, including with Andersson, and she was acting in self-defense on the night of the slaying.