Image: Tim Lane

Caked in congealed blood and matted with hair, the cobalt-blue-suede platform stiletto—size nine, with a five-and-a-half-inch steel heel—loomed large all 11 days it spent in court, displayed before the jurors and the world as attorneys relayed in graphic detail its last gory use as a lethal weapon.

Prosecutors alleged that on June 9, 2013, after a booze-soaked Saturday night on the town, 44-year-old Ana Trujillo, a petite mother of two, tore the shoe off her foot and bashed it into her boyfriend’s head some 25 times.

The victim, 59-year-old Stefan Andersson, was a biochemist and UH professor who was widely regarded as mild-mannered and gentle. Through her lawyers, Trujillo countered that he was a violent, belligerent drunk who hid his dark side well. As they fought in his ritzy 18th-floor apartment in the Museum District that night, Trujillo feared for her life, she said, and reached for the only weapon she had. Before she knew it, she’d bludgeoned Andersson to death with the very heels she supposedly wore to suit his fancy.

She called 911, and police arrived to find a grisly, blood-soaked scene: Andersson lying in the hallway with dozens of puncture wounds, some over an inch deep, to his face, head, neck, and arms, and Trujillo’s left stiletto resting ominously nearby.

Later, at trial, its unmarred mate would be used in dramatic courtroom demonstrations that saw prosecutors pound the air and mount a mannequin torso to pantomime the deadly blows before a bewildered audience.

The jury, forced to choose between two made-for-TV narratives—a victim of secret domestic assault driven to a moment of desperation, or a twisted enchantress with her own violent tendencies who killed a good man in cold blood—embraced the latter and found Trujillo guilty in less than two hours. Before her sentencing, Trujillo took the stand in her own defense, though her six hours of rambling testimony may have done more harm than good, as the jury sentenced her to life in prison. She lost her appeal in late 2015.

That same year, Trujillo reflected on the heat of the moment in a 20/20 special. “You don’t know what you’re going to do when that happens,” ABC’s Ryan Smith offered in the prison interview. “You think you do,” Trujillo said, her infamously emotive face nearly cracking into a grin as she lowered her voice to a whisper, “but you don’t.”

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