Victim's former boss testifies in Michel Escoto trial

By Peter Burke, Managing Editor, pburke@local10.com
John Turchin, Crime Specialist, jturchin@local10.com
Published On: Mar 28 2014 05:43:34 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 29 2014 01:10:09 AM EDT

A former employer of Wendy Trapaga testifies that he noticed signs of domestic abuse shortly before she was killed.

MIAMI -

The former employer of the woman a man is accused of killing less than a week after they were married claimed he saw signs of domestic abuse shortly before her death.

Michel Escoto is accused of killing his new wife, Wendy Trapaga, in 2002 to collect her $1 million life insurance policy.

Escoto, who is acting as his own attorney, once again was disruptive in court and seemingly rambled without direction during his murder trial Friday.

"There hasn't been one single iota of evidence," Escoto told the judge.

When it was time for Escoto to cross-examine Dr. James Dugan, Escoto questioned his wife's former employer about the cut Dugan claimed he noticed on Trapaga's lip about a month before she was killed.

"Do you have any reason to believe that that was somehow inflicted by myself or anyone else, for that matter?" Escoto asked.

"Well, if it wasn't you, it was the biggest herpes legion I ever saw," Dugan replied.

Trapaga's body was discovered outside a northwest Miami-Dade County warehouse. She had been drugged, strangled and beaten with a tire iron. Escoto was not charged until three years later.

During her redirect, assistant state attorney Gail Levine brought up a second injury that Dugan claimed to have seen.

"When you saw the second set of marks, did you say something to Wendy?" Levine asked.

"Yes," Levine replied.

"What'd you say?" Levine asked.

"I said, 'Do you know what the cure is for spousal abuse?' And she said no," Dugan replied.
"What'd you say?" Levine asked.

"There isn't any," Dugan answered. "You've got to get away from this guy or he's going to kill you."

Escoto faces life in prison if convicted.

The trial is expected to continue for several more weeks.

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