SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO — Twelve hours before he was murdered in 2005, Winnipeg native Adam Anhang told his wife he was filing for divorce, and she responded: "Just try. I’m not going to let you go that easy." The exchange came during a heated marriage counselling session.
That same night, Anhang, a 32-year-old millionaire, was stabbed and beaten to death on the streets of Old San Juan, in the presence of his wife, Aurea Vazquez-Rijos. The killer was a local man who has already confessed to a contract killing. He told police he was promised $3 million if he killed Anhang.
Vazquez-Rijos has been charged with ordering the murder-for-hire, in a conspiracy with her sister Marcia and a boyfriend, Jose Ferrer Sosa.
Monday’s dramatic testimony in a San Juan courtroom came from clinical psychologist Alexandra Ramos, who held five counselling sessions with Anhang and Vazquez-Rijos in September 2005 — the last month of Anhang’s life.
It’s taken this long for the case to come to court because of a series of local police blunders, the conviction of the wrong man, and Vazquez-Rijos’ flight to Europe before she was indicted. She has given birth to three children in the interval, including a girl while she was imprisoned in Spain before she was extradited back to Puerto Rico.
Sitting in the court Monday was Adam’s father Abe, who has been tracking the accused’s movements and legal maneuvers for 13 years.
Ramos, the marriage counsellor, said she first met with Anhang in September 2005, and it was clear that the six-month-old marriage was falling apart. Anhang was "distressed" about the fact that his family did not know he was married, that he and Aurea were quarrelling about money, that she hadn’t fulfilled her promise to convert to Judaism, and that he was unhappy with the terms of their pre-nuptial agreement. Under the agreement, she would receive $8 million of his $24 million estate in the event of his death.
At subsequent sessions, the fractured state of the marriage became more apparent. Vazquez-Rios told that counsellor that her husband was stricken by "insecurity and jealousy." She accused him of cheating on her in the first year of their relationship. She said Anhang had consulted a psychic who told him he would die in 2005, and she worried that he may have contracted AIDS. "It’s ridiculous," she said about his fears.
Ramos testified that Anhang had a proposal about how to fix the relationship. They would get a divorce, revise their pre-nuptial agreement, attend counselling, she would convert to Judaism, and they would then remarry. Vazquez-Rijos laughed off the idea, Ramos said. That’s when she made the remark about Anhang not getting off "so easy."
In 2008, she was indicted for murder-for-hire after the capture of Alex Pabon, nicknamed El Loco, a known underworld figure. He confessed, and said he’d been promised $3 million by Vazquez-Rijos, her sister Marcia and Jose Ferrer Sosa for the hit. The bounty was never paid.
Meanwhile, Vazquez-Rijos had relocated to Italy where she worked as a travel agent. She resisted extradition for several years before she was arrested in Madrid in an FBI sting operation.
Another witness, Morayma Carradero, told the court of a bizarre conversation she had with Vazquez-Rijos at a San Juan social function in August 2005 — a month before the killing. Carradero said the accused told her "she was dreaming about loneliness, death, knives, and weird things" as a result of "emotional mistreatment" at the hands of Anhang.
Finally, the office manager for Adam Anhang’s local corporation testified that on the morning after Anhang’s murder, she saw his wife’s sister Marcia leaving Anhang’s apartment with boxes containing his belongings, including his pet cats. Glorivil Rosario Garcia said that when she walked into his apartment, "it was in total disarray, like somebody had gone through all the belongings." A family friend also attempted to drive away in Anhang’s Porsche Cayenne before he was stopped by police.
Adam and Aurea had been living apart for some time.
The trial is expected to continue for another four to six weeks.