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Woman becomes key witness in her own murder investigation

Woman becomes key witness in her own murder investigation

Maria Eugenia Muñoz was murdered by her husband Joel Pellot, and her own words helped to bring him to justice

A woman became a witness in her own murder trial, and helped to secure a conviction.

The case was that of Maria Eugenia Muñoz, who was murdered by her husband Joel Pellot in 2020.

Evidence from Maria herself ended up becoming key to convincing a jury that she had been murdered, and that Pellot was the killer.

In 2020, police officer Gregorio De La Cruz responded to an emergency call to find Pellot, a nurse anesthetist, dressed in surgical scrubs and performing CPR on Maria.

As the officer took over the CPR, Pellot shared that his wife had been 'super depressed' lately, and that he believed she had taken some pills.

He showed De La Cruz a medicine bottle for a drug used in the treatment of anxiety.

But it was Maria's journals which proved key.

Pellot had been cheating on Maria with a colleague for two years.
CBS News

They revealed a woman who was looking forward to moving on from her marriage after the man she loved cheated.

Not only that, but the entries did not indicate that she had been having thoughts of suicide.

Maria was declared dead in the early hours of September 22, 2020. But De La Cruz got a bad feeling, noticing that Pellot, who worked as a nurse anaesthetist, appeared to be sweating profusely.

The officer said: "I'm wearing a vest, I'm wearing a gun, I'm wearing almost 20 pounds of gear, right, and I'm not sweating as bad as he was."

Pellot was detained and taken to the police station. Officers also found a syringe wrapper on the floor, and a needle catheter on the stairs.

While evidence seemingly pointed to a suicide by overdose, something just didn't seem right.

Things only got stranger when it emerged that Pellot had been seeing a woman he met at work called Janet Arredondo, and living with her. Maria was also aware of the relationship.

An autopsy of Maria also didn't find any residue of pills in her stomach. What they did find however, was a small red mark on the inside of her elbow.

Maria's diaries were key in demonstrating she had not been suicidal.
CBS News

When toxicology reports came back the cause of death was given as multiple drug toxicity, with all the drugs being ones that a nurse would have access to.

Among them was propofol, which could be administered by injection.

The pair had gotten into an argument just days before, and afterwards Maria had texted Pellot about hiring a divorce lawyer.

He had responded: “We can do this with minimal lawyer intervention. It’s too much money.”

The couple had agreed to meet and talk on the Monday night, but Maria was dead the next morning.

Prosecutors alleged that Pellot had slipped something into her drink before administering the lethal dose of propofol by injection.

Maria's diary entries were key in demonstrating that she had not been having suicidal thoughts, reducing the possibility that she had killed herself.

Pellot was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in jail.

Featured Image Credit: CBS News

Topics: News, US News, Crime