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Man accused of killing girlfriend claims he ‘wasn’t completely lucid’ as he admits stuffing body inside a suitcase

Man accused of killing girlfriend claims he ‘wasn’t completely lucid’ as he admits stuffing body inside a suitcase

John Poulos claimed there was evidence he had taken drugs that night

An American man accused of killing his 23-year-old girlfriend said he 'wasn't completely lucid' as he appeared in court after stuffing her body in a suitcase.

John Poulos, from Franklin, Wisconsin, testified in court on March 6 that he woke up in January 2023 to find the lifeless body of Valentina Trespalacios in the bed.

Poulos had started speaking to Trespalacios, a well-known Colombian DJ, nine months earlier after they met on a dating app, and said in court that he had talked to her 'every single day'.

On the night she died, Poulos claimed he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs and didn't recall what happened.

On the stand in the Colombian capital of Bogota, he said: "I'd never done drugs before I met Valentina. My guess is, what happened, I was in a drug-induced, alcohol-induced, I wasn't completely lucid at that time, and I don't know if I did it, I don't know if she did it."

When Poulos woke, he said he found a zip tie wrapped tightly around Trespalacios' neck. An autopsy later determined that the DJ had died from 'mechanical asphyxia' or 'strangulation'.

Valentina Trespalacios died of strangulation.
WISN 12 News

"I tried to wake up Valentina, and she didn't respond," he recalled. "When I initially saw her, I knew right away that something was wrong. She was very pale.

"Right away I checked for a pulse, and I noticed she had one of the sex toys that we used around her neck."

He continued: "When I checked her pulse, I was looking at her color and everything. I knew that she was dead."

Poulos said he 'completely broke down', adding: "This was a girl that I loved. I had talked to her for nine months... So, imagine killing someone that you loved."

The divorced father-of-three testified that after realizing she was dead, he stuffed Trespalacios' body into a suitcase and dumped it in the garbage.

“I decided to try to escape and I put her body into the blue suitcase that I had brought,” he said. “That’s when I put Valentina into the garbage.”

John Poulos met Valentina on a dating app.
WISN 12 News

Poulos then fled the country before being detained in Panama with a ticket to fly to Turkey.

The man claimed there was evidence that the couple had been taking drugs on the night of Trespalacios' death, including videos of them using drugs and an alleged toxicology report which he claims shows Trespalacios had drugs in her system.

However, Poulos claimed the judge did not deem the evidence admissible in the case.

"If anyone doesn't believe what I'm talking about on the drug piece, the proof exists," he said. "I understand it hasn't been entered evidence here because my evidence was denied."

Poulos could be convicted of femicide, a charge in South America associated with the killing of women which carries up to 50 years in prison.

Discussing the potential outcomes of the case, Poulos said: "To me, it's life or death at the same time. If I go to prison, I'm likely to be killed there.

"If I go to trial, I didn't think my rights would be observed. But either way, I regret making that decision to put her in the suitcase."

Featured Image Credit: X/@ptrain67/Policia Nacional

Topics: Drugs, Crime, US News, World News