SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Puerto Rico woman accused of hiring a hit man to kill her wealthy Canadian husband more than a decade ago was found guilty on Wednesday.
Aurea Vazquez Rijos had been charged with offering a man $3 million to kill real estate developer Adam Anhang. He was stabbed repeatedly and hit in the head with an object while walking with Vazquez through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan in September 2005, just 12 hours after prosecutors said Anhang had asked for a divorce.
Vazquez is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2019. She will not face the death penalty, and attorneys have said they expect she will serve a life sentence in a case that sparked an international manhunt.
Defense attorneys said they would appeal the verdict.
A jury of seven men and five women also convicted Vazquez's sister, Marcia Vazquez Rijos, and an ex-boyfriend of hers, Jose Ferrer Sosa. The main suspect, Alex Pabon Colon, pleaded guilty 10 years ago to killing Anhang and testified for the prosecution. Also testifying was a man who sued for wrongful conviction after he was convicted of killing Anhang and spent eight months in jail. He was released when Pabon was charged as federal authorities took over the case.
The victim's father, Abraham Anhang, told The Associated Press that the verdict brought him and his family closure.
"These people thought they could get away with murder," he said. "It's been a long haul. They've been evading arrest, evading the law, evading taking responsibility and pretending they had nothing to do with it."
Vazquez and Anhang began dating two years before he was killed, and during that time bought her a car, an apartment and a business in Old San Juan called "The Pink Skirt." They signed a prenup one day before getting married, with Anhang's value estimated at more than $24 million and Vazquez's at nearly $62,300.
Six months after Anhang was killed, Vazquez sued his parents seeking $1 million in damages and $8 million from his estate. Shortly after filing the lawsuit, she left for Florence, Italy. Once there, prosecutors said she falsified documents to prove she was Jewish and thought about moving to Israel, asking an attorney whether the country had an extradition agreement with the U.S.
Authorities arrested Vazquez in June 2013 after she flew from Spain to Italy. She and her one-month-old baby were extradited to Puerto Rico two years later, leaving behind a pair of female twins that she had with a man in Italy.