Barcelona court sentences “perfect crime” killer to 22 years in prison

María Ángeles Molina committed “premeditated” murder for money

María Ángeles Molina during her trial.
María Ángeles Molina during her trial. CONSUELO BAUTISTA

The Barcelona High Court on Monday sentenced María Ángeles Molina, known as “Angie,” to 22 years in prison for the killing of her friend Ana Páez in an apartment in the Gràcia neighborhood of the Catalan capital. The trial became known as the “perfect crime case” on account of Molina’s elaborate attempts to cover up the murder.

Sentencing Molina, the court noted that the businesswoman took advantage of her friendship with Páez to steal identity documents with “the intention of gaining economic benefit.”

Molina disguised herself in order to take out several bank loans and insurance policies in Páez’s name worth more than one million euros. The beneficiary of these transactions was one Susana B., a woman “completely without knowledge of the criminal plan,” who left her identity card in a photocopy shop.

The court concluded that Molina was the perpetrator of a premeditated killing. The crime was “especially perverse,” the ruling read, as Molina had gone to Páez’s apartment under the pretext of inviting the victim to dinner. Molina received 18 years for the murder and a further four for falsification of documents with a view to fraud.

Molina formulated the plan and “decided to kill” Páez, the ruling read. On February 19, 2008, she invited Páez to dinner at an apartment she had rented for just three days, using Páez’s name.

That morning, Molina had withdrawn 600 euros from an account in Páez’s name. Video recordings from the bank showed Molina entering wearing a wig.

She anesthetized Páez with a product which has not been identified”

“With the intent of forming an alibi,” the court said, Molina traveled to Zaragoza in a Porsche and recovered the ashes of her father, who had died a year earlier. In the evening, she returned to Barcelona. Once in the apartment, she anesthetized Páez with a “product the nature of which has not been identified.”

Then, she placed a plastic bag over Páez’s head and sealed it with several strips of insulating tape. In order to simulate a sexual crime, Molina injected semen into the mouth and vagina of the victim. She had procured the semen at a male brothel, where she paid two prostitutes to masturbate in front of her into a jar.

When police searched Molina’s home they found an unopened bottle of chloroform and an insurance policy from Carrefour in Páez’s name. Molina’s then-boyfriend handed the police diverse documentation he had found hidden behind the bathroom cistern, including Páez’s original passport and ID card.

The Barcelona High Court considered it “unquestionably proven” that Molina took out policies and loans using Páez’s identity, based on police reports and witness testimony from employees at the banks who identified Molina during the trial.

Molina denied the charges and said that at the time of the murder she was out shopping. First, she claimed, she had gone to the Corte Inglés department store to buy a watch. Afterward, she claimed to have visited a convenience store. “Without yoghurts or condensed milk I am nothing,” she announced to the magistrates and the watching family of Páez.

“The amount and the relevance of the evidence, amply accredited,” the court ruling concluded, left no doubt as to the identity of the killer.

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