Juror in newlywed murder trial replaced after lying - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Juror in newlywed murder trial replaced after lying

Posted: Updated:
Michele Escoto and Wendy Trapaga Michele Escoto and Wendy Trapaga
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A juror's failure to disclose personal details has put testimony on hold in the trial of a man accused of murdering his newlywed bride for a $1 million life insurance policy.

Michele Escoto, who is representing himself, stands accused of drugging, strangling and beating his wife of just four days with a tire iron, before killing her in 2002. Prosecutors say the motive was an attempt for him to collect Wendy Trapaga's $1 million life insurance policy.

Escoto has tried to mitigate his own involvement in the murder by saying his ex-girlfriend, who got immunity in exchange for her testimony, was an accomplice.

On Tuesday, a juror was replaced by an alternate after the state claimed the juror failed to disclose her own daughter is the alleged victim in a separate pending sexual abuse case. The juror's current situation could make her partial to the prosecution which would then be possible grounds for appeals.

However, the defendant did not have an issue with keeping the juror saying she could still be objective in her decision-making process, but the judge did not agree.

"I have concerns that she is going to taint the rest of the panel," said Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez in court Tuesday morning. "She lied to court, she was disingenuous. We asked these questions, we gave everyone the opportunity to disclose and discuss, we had days of jury selection, and I understand this appeals the defense's objection, but I am going to cite her."

It has now been almost three weeks since opening statements in the case, and the defense is finally receiving the case.

Testimony is now underway.
  • On Deco DriveMore>>

  • Sin City

    Sin City

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:28 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:28:47 GMT
    Kindness and charm, unlike the people that live in Sin City, and i'm not talking about Vegas either. Things have changed in the town of Sin as in the motion picture while others have stayed the same. The cast of the movie told Deco what's new in part two.?
    Kindness and charm, unlike the people that live in Sin City, and i'm not talking about Vegas either. Things have changed in the town of Sin as in the motion picture while others have stayed the same. The cast of the movie told Deco what's new in part two.?
  • Bourbon Steak

    Bourbon Steak

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:26:53 GMT
    This year's Miami Spice could use a phone book just to list the restaurants taking part, more than a hundred. Which means filling up on three courses for only $39 bucks. And at some places, that means saving a whole lot of money.
    This year's Miami Spice could use a phone book just to list the restaurants taking part, more than a hundred. Which means filling up on three courses for only $39 bucks. And at some places, that means saving a whole lot of money.
  • Samba and a Movie

    Samba and a Movie

    Monday, August 18 2014 9:50 PM EDT2014-08-19 01:50:11 GMT
    Moqueca mista at Sushi SambaMoqueca mista at Sushi Samba
    Got a hot date tomorrow but not a lot of dough to make it special? Head to Coral Gables for dinner and a movie, and it won't break your bank. Check out Samba and a Movie, a once-monthly deal to feast your eyes -- and mouth -- on.
    Got a hot date tomorrow but not a lot of dough to make it special? Head to Coral Gables for dinner and a movie, and it won't break your bank. Check out Samba and a Movie, a once-monthly deal to feast your eyes -- and mouth -- on.
  • NationalMore>>

  • US officials: Video shows American's beheading

    US officials: Video shows American's beheading

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 12:54 AM EDT2014-08-20 04:54:41 GMT
    The Obama administration says it has not confirmed the authenticity of a video that purports to show the killing of an American journalist by Islamic State militants.
    A grisly video released Tuesday shows Islamic State militants beheading American journalist James Foley, U.S. officials said, in what the extremists called retribution for recent U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. The militants...
  • Governor won't seek removal of county prosecutor

    Governor won't seek removal of county prosecutor

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 12:27 AM EDT2014-08-20 04:27:22 GMT
    The National Guard has arrived in Ferguson but kept its distance from the streets where protesters have again clashed with police in the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer.
    Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that he would not seek the removal of the county prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, which has sparked more than a week of nightly...
  • Macy's to pay $650,000 in shopper-profiling probe

    Macy's to pay $650,000 in shopper-profiling probe

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 12:14 AM EDT2014-08-20 04:14:22 GMT
    The retailer Macy's has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle allegations of racial profiling at its flagship store in Manhattan's Herald Square.
    The retailer Macy's has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle allegations of racial profiling at its flagship store in Manhattan's Herald Square.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.