We're big fans of true crime. There's something satisfying about delving into a killer's past to pinpoint that moment in time when he or she went off the deep end into full-tilt cray cray. So, when we heard about a new book about Houston's infamous “stiletto murder,” we had to check it out.
Possessed: The Infamous Texas Stiletto Murder is the tenth book for Kathryn Casey (Deliver Us), and the author devotes the first 44 or so pages to the murder victim, Stefan Andersson. Although he was born in Sweden, he longed for a climate with sunshine and warmth, ending up in Dallas before moving to Houston at the end of 2009.
Chances are you ran into him at a restaurant or an art opening. Andersson was a professor and researcher at the University of Houston in its Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling. After he moved to the luxury high rise The Parklane, the Museum District became his stomping ground: He hit all the restaurants, attended openings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and demonstrated his kindness by buying doughnuts, sandwiches and beer for the homeless he passed in Hermann Park.
It's important to get to know the victim, as his ability to speak for himself ended the night his predatory off-and-on-again girlfriend hammered his head, face and body more than 25 times with the steel-reinforced heel of her stiletto. In his Legacy.com obituary, the family remembered Andersson for his “amazing sense of humor, honesty, a brilliant mind, and above all love and generosity.”
But the book really takes off when Casey begins writing about Ana Trujillo (Fox), a user of men who clawed her way from Arizona to Houston, eventually fleeing her suburban existence for the downtown nightlife.
“I don't want to be a wife or mother anymore,” Ana said. “I just want to go out and have fun.”
And have fun she did: She set up a massage salon on Main, a half block from the Rice Hotel, and worked security at the upscale hip-hop bar Venue. Trujillo was out almost every night, bedding young, black men for pleasure and older, white men to pay her bills.
Trujillo became fascinated with the occult and tarot, shedding the Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs of her childhood and believing that she could communicate with spirits. Her drinking increased, and she was pulled over more than once for drunk driving. She visited yerberias for voodoo dolls and, after testing positive for pot while on probation, turned to Kush.
She was staying with a man at The Parklane when she spotted Andersson and decided that he would make for a nice upgrade. They seemed to have chemistry at first, but Casey's book details a series of arguments, break-ups and rebounds. It does seem as if Andersson was trying to distance himself from Trujillo, but she kept turning up at all of his favorite restaurants.
On that last fateful evening, they were out at Bar 5015. In her book, Casey writes:
Stefan and Ana lingered for hours, sharing a twenty-five-dollar bottle of wine followed by six shots of Don Julio Silver tequila at $12 each. Stefan didn't like vodka, but Ana rounded out her evening with four eight-dollar shots of Absolut.
They were both drunk but Ana, at five-feet-five-inches tall and weighing only 120 pounds, must have been out of her mind. They argued in the taxi home, and the driver tried to warn Andersson to "be careful," that his friend was "not in her right mind."
Once the couple entered Andersson's 18th-floor unit, he was never seen alive again. At trial, Trujillo claimed self-defense, but the jury found her guilty of murder and she was eventually sentenced to life in prison.
What's most fascinating about Possessed is how so many men and women succumbed to Trujillo's charms. The book contains photographs of her posing provocatively in private (often wearing stiletto shoes) or in public wearing a bustier or having her body painted. The publishers couldn't provide a photograph, but you can see her in this YouTube video.
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The last segment of the book takes us through her trial, and courtroom insiders will see many familiar names, including defense attorney Jack Carroll and prosecutors John Jordan and Sarah Mickelson.
Casey will read from her book and sign copies at 4:30 p.m. on October 8 at Murder By The Book, 2342 Bissonnet, 713-524-8597, murderbooks.com. Free.