Wiccan Woman Charged With Murder, Stabbed Victim With Ceremonial Knife, Say Cops

Angela Sanford (KRQE)
Angela Sanford (KRQE)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CBS/AP) Police say a self-described witch, who invited a man to join her in a Wiccan celebration of spring, stabbed the man multiple times with a ceremonial knife, killing him. They say she then tried to make it look like self defense.

Police say that Angela Sanford invited Joel Leyva to join her in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains to celebrate Beltane, a Wiccan celebration of spring. They say she then lured him to a spot off a popular hiking trail and stabbed him approximately 13 times in the head and torso with a ceremonial knife.

But Sanford says that Leyva first attacked her, tying her up with her rope belt and threatening her with the knife. She says she was able to convince him that she wanted to have sex with him and got him to untie her and then lie down on the ground, according to CBS affiliate KRQE.

According to her, she then managed to get the knife away from him and stabbed him three times in the abdomen before running away to get help.

Witnesses say that she approached them in her underwear claiming to have been raped. None of them reported hearing anyone yelling for help.

Police say nothing in the evidence supports Sanford's version of events. The coroner's report states that Leyva suffered approximately 13 stab wounds, not three. In addition, police say Sanford's clothes were found neatly folded next to Leyva's body.

A local Wiccan follower, who does not know Sanford, also refutes Sanford's version of events. Linda Owl told KRQE that the ceremony Sanford claims to have been celebrating doesn't occur until late April or May.

Police have not released a theory as to motive. Sanford is being held on a $500,000 cash or surety bond.