Jury Reaches Guilty Verdict in Newlywed Murder Case

- NBC Miami

A jury returned a guilty verdict Tuesday for a South Florida man accused of murdering his newlywed wife to collect a $1 million insurance policy.

Michel Escoto, 42, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of wife Wendy Trapaga in October 2002 to collect the policy. The couple had returned from their honeymoon just days earlier.

The body of Trapaga, 21, was found next to a trash bin at a warehouse parking lot between the Palmetto Expressway and Miami Springs.

Escoto showed little emotion as the verdict was read. Trapaga's family cried.

Escoto Cross Examines Former Girlfriend

Both sides presented closing arguments Monday. Escoto faces life in prison at sentencing, which was scheduled for May 7.

The trial, which began last month, has provided for some dramatic and awkward moments as Escoto, who is not an attorney, represented himself. Escoto had pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors had repeatedly objected to Escoto, who was also held in contempt at one point after he allegedly threatened a witness on the stand.