Jury finds Joel Pellot guilty of the murder of his wife

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 12:18 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - After less than two hours of deliberation, a jury has found Joel Pellot guilty of the death of his wife Maria Munoz.

The trial took place for over eight days with closing arguments just ending before 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 30.

Pellot has been found guilty of murder and tampering with evidence. No word yet when sentencing will take place.

Joel Pellot and Maria Eugenia Muñoz
Joel Pellot and Maria Eugenia Muñoz(KGNS)

During closing arguments, Pellot’s attorney Roberto Balli told the jurors that his client wanted to “work things out” with his wife, Maria Munoz, before her death.

Balli referenced Pellot’s and Munoz’s state of mind, calling it “not good” and addressed the suicidal tendencies allegedly displayed by Munoz and shown during the trial.

The medical examiner’s autopsy report was presented again, where Balli told jurors to keep in mind that the report stated Munoz’s cause of death was still “undetermined” and there was not enough evidence to tie his client to her death.

Balli emphasized how Pellot administered Narcan the night of her death and finished off his closing arguments by stating that Pellot and Munoz were “both drug addicts.”

For the state, Webb County Chief Assistant District Attorney Marisela Jacaman and Ana Karen Garza Gutierrez told jurors that Pellot was a “master manipulator.”

The state asked the jurors to focus on the fact that Pellot allegedly tried to get “rid of a lot of evidence” and emphasized how Pellot tried to get Munoz’s body cremated.

They claimed during closing arguments that Pellot made sure that “CPR did not work” in order to revive Munoz the night of her death.

Another statement made was how Munoz was a good mother and had a purpose to care for her children when one of the children was described as having “special needs.”

The state referenced again the affair between Pellot and his lover Janet Arredondo, and how they tampered with evidence relating to Munoz’s case as well as their drug use and Pellot taking drugs from a hospital.

Another testimony highlighted was that of Sgt. Luis Mata’s, who was a detective in 2020. Mata was on the stand for three days. The state focused on the interrogation between Mata and Pellot, primarily focusing on Pellot’s behavior.

One of the drugs the state highlighted during closing arguments was the use of propofol and the statements made by Dr. John Huntsinger from Doctors Hospital of Laredo on the alarming levels of Propofol in Munoz’s body.

The state told jurors how they wanted to show them all the evidence but much of it had been destroyed, like Munoz’s cellphone, vials, and IV kits.

In the end, the state presented a PowerPoint presentation on how they believe Pellot committed the crime.

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