Puerto Rico woman convicted in murder-for-hire of Winnipeg man

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 found guilty of offering a man $3M to kill Adam Anhang

Adam Anhang was stabbed to death in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2005. His wife, Aurea Vazquez Rijos, has been found guilty in connection with his killing. (Submitted by Anhang family)

A Puerto Rico woman accused of hiring a hit-man to kill her wealthy husband from Winnipeg more than a decade ago was found guilty on Wednesday.

Aurea Vazquez Rijos had been charged with offering a man $3 million US 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.

In this Sept. 24, 2015, photo, Vazquez is taken to the Federal Court in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Vazquez accused of hiring a hit-man to kill her wealthy Canadian husband was found guilty on Wednesday. (Carlos Giusti/El Vocero via AP)

Defence 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.

Vazquez's sister Marcia Vazquez Rijos arrives at the federal court of Old San Juan to face trial for allegedly conspiring in the 2005 murder of Anhang, on Aug. 30. She was also found guilty Wednesday. (Carlos Giusti/Associated Press)

'It's been a long haul'

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.

The father of Adam Anhang, a former Winnipegger who was killed in Puerto Rico in 2005, says he's relieved the man's wife has been arrested after being sought for five years in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme. 2:08

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 United States.

Authorities arrested Vazquez in June 2013 after she flew to Spain from 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.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story stated that authorities arrested Vazquez in June 2013 after she flew from Spain to Italy. In fact, she was arrested after she flew from Italy to Spain.
    Oct 04, 2018 11:19 AM CT