Sunday, November 6, 2016

A review of Kathryn Casey's Possessed: The Infamous Texas Stiletto Murder

Right after I finished listening to the video by Dave Foley and his horrible first divorce, I went to bed and finished reading true crime writer Kathryn Casey's latest book, Possessed: The Infamous Texas Stiletto Murder.  I've been working on this book for awhile now, but it's kind of fitting that I finished it last night.  It ties in nicely with my post about Dave Foley's allegedly personality disordered ex wife.

Possessed, was released in late September.  It's the tragic story of Stefan Andersson, a brilliant Swedish scientist whose life ended at age 59 at the hands of a crazed woman named Ana Trujillo.  Or... maybe I should say that his life ended at Trujillo's feet, given Trujillo's choice of a murder weapon.

Casey starts at the beginning, explaining how Andersson earned a doctoral degree and decided to move to Texas, where it's warm and there's plenty of sunshine.  Andersson was single and enjoyed a burgeoning career in Dallas for years before his work finally took him to Houston.  While he was in Houston, Andersson met Ana Trujillo, a woman who was born in Mexico but had been raised in the United States.  She had eventually settled in Texas, where she would regularly haunt the bars.  She eventually met Stefan Andersson and they began a relationship.  

Andersson was reportedly a very generous and kind man.  He loved women in high heels and wouldn't blink at spending $1500 on designer stiletto heels for the women he dated.  Anytime a friend or a lover had trouble, he would bend over backwards to help them to the best of his ability.  It was his generous nature that got him wedged into an unfortunate union with Trujillo, who eventually moved into his apartment and spent his money.  When he'd try to extricate himself from the relationship, Trujillo would dig in her heels, sometimes in a violent manner.

Andersson was also fond of drinking alcohol.  Casey explains that Andersson frequented bars in the Houston area.  He and Trujillo would go out drinking and became a familiar sight at some of the bars closest to Andersson's home.  Trujillo also had other male friends who could attest that she could get nasty when she didn't get her way.  One lover was victimized publicly when Ana saw him in a bar.  She approached him as if she wanted to kiss him on the head, but she bit him hard, causing him to cry out in pain.  She had a truly violent streak, even though she claimed to have been a victim of abuse and violence herself.  Somehow, Trujillo had the idea that being an alleged victim of violence gave her a pass to hurt other people.  

Throughout the book, Casey explains things Trujillo did that made Andersson's friends raise their eyebrows.  She had a habit of abusing men, not just Andersson, but other guys who had relationships with her.  Trujillo later claimed that she had a history of being abused by men.  Andersson had apparently been trying to break off his relationship with Trujillo.  He reportedly wanted her out of his life, once and for all.  She refused to go without a fight.

On the evening of June 9, 2013, Trujillo and Andersson were in Andersson's apartment when they had their final fight.  Trujillo claimed that Andersson was drunk and had lost control.  She claimed that he had attacked her in an alcoholic rage, so she used her size 9, designer made, $1500 stiletto heels to defend herself.  Andersson ended up being struck at least 25 times in the head with the spiky heels, while investigators noted that Trujillo had few injuries that suggested she'd had to defend herself.  She still tried to play the victim and claimed that she had killed in self defense.  

Not quite a year later, a Texas jury found Trujillo guilty of murder.  She will likely spend the rest of her life in prison, since she will not be eligible for parole until she is 74 years old.

Kathryn Casey is a Houston based true crime writer whose craft reminds me a lot of the late Ann Rule.  She does a great job outlining the facts in this case while keeping the story interesting and engaging.  While I don't remember hearing about Ana Trujillo's case when it was going on (and I was living in Texas when she was convicted), I can see how this story would be hot news.  Actually, I'm surprised I didn't hear about it when it was happening.

At the end of the book, Casey notes that the case had a real international flair.  Although Andersson became a naturalized citizen, his family and friends from Sweden came to Texas for the trial and to help settle his affairs.  Trujillo was Mexican, although she had also made America her home.  After the verdict was read, Casey notes that Trujillo's family apologized to Andersson's family and they all hugged each other, embracing peace after such a brutal case. 

I recommend Possession.  I've read several of Kathryn Casey's books and I think this is one of her better ones.  I'd give it a solid four stars out of five.

 

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