Newlywed Murder Trial Continues in Miami

Friday, Mar 21, 2014  |  Updated 6:55 PM EDT
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The trial of a South Florida man accused of murdering his wife to collect a $1 million life insurance policy continued Friday, as the victim's mother took the stand to deliver emotional testimony. Ari Odzer reports.

The trial of a South Florida man accused of murdering his wife to collect a $1 million life insurance policy continued Friday, as the victim's mother took the stand to deliver emotional testimony. Ari Odzer reports.

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Trial Begins for Man Accused in 2002 Murder of Wife

A South Florida man accused of murdering his wife to collect a $1 million life insurance policy is finally heading to trial more than 11 years after her death. Justin Finch reports.
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The trial of a South Florida man accused of murdering his wife to collect a $1 million life insurance policy continued Friday, as the victim's mother took the stand with teary testimony about her daughter's final days.

Prosecutors say Michel Escoto bludgeoned his new bride Wendy Trapaga to death after just four days of marriage back in 2002. Miriam Benitez told the court Friday that she questioned at the time why the newlyweds needed the life insurance plan, which was purchased just days before the murder.

"She was sleeping on the floor, she had no job, why life insurance?" Benitez said.

The body of Trapaga, 21, was found next to a trash bin at a warehouse parking lot between the Palmetto Expressway and Miami Springs, according to the Miami Herald.  Escoto's ex-girlfriend admitted to prosecutors in 2011 that she helped Escoto plan the murder, the Herald reported.

Benitez, who wore a locket with her daughter's picture, recalled seeing her daughter for the last time before she departed on what turned out to be a deadly honeymoon trip.

"That was the last day that I was able to hug her," she said with tears.

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

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