Police were called to Claudio-Marrero’s home after his estranged wife’s current boyfriend, Larry Turner, called them with concerns for her safety. He told them that Sreymon Claudio had dropped him off at a nearby fast-food restaurant so that she could go to her husband’s house and confront him about some jewelry of hers he had pawned. She went alone because she did not want her husband to know of her relationship with Turner.
Turner grew increasingly concerned when Claudio had not returned a few hours later, so he took a cab to Claudio-Marrero’s home. He waited in the cab for 45-minutes, calling police after watching Claudio-Marrero walk out of the home, search for something in his vehicle, and then go back inside.
When police arrived, it took Claudio-Marrero fifteen minutes to come out. When he did, police observed his hands had fresh cuts and were bleeding. When police searched inside the home they would find Claudio’s dead body in an upstairs bathtub.
He said he and his wife had been married for five years and that she had recently moved out of the home. Claudio-Marrero admitted that when Claudio came over to confront him about his pawning her jewelry without her permission, he “snapped” after he confronted her about her relationship with Turner, a relationship he found out about after seeing pictures on Facebook of Claudio and Turner together.
He says he punched her, pushed her down some stairs and inside a bathroom. That’s when he grabbed a toilet tank lid and beat Claudio with it until it broke. He later dragged her dead body to the upstairs bathroom where she was found by police. Claudio-Marrero’s was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
If you are an avid reader of D’D, then it should come as no surprise that this isn’t the first story we’ve had regarding someone being beaten to death with a toilet tank lid. Back in 2009, 42-year-old Michelle Sprang was found guilty of second-degree murder after being accused of beating 49-year-old Addie Mae Lee to death with a toilet lid inside a motel room.
This article would have ended here had I not decided to see how many years in prison Sprang was sentenced. Turns out that story took some interesting turns after we first reported on it.
In 2006, Addie Mae Lee’s body was found wrapped in a comforter and stuffed under a mattress and box springs at the Oasis Motel. She had been beaten with a toilet tank lid and strangled with a pair of panties. Sprang checked into the room with Lee and was arrested in 2008 after investigators found her palm print on the toilet tank lid, her DNA under Lee’s fingernails and owning panties similar to the ones used to strangle Lee.
During her trial, Pima County Superior Court Judge Deborah Bernini gave jurors the option of convicting Sprang of either first-degree murder or second-degree murder even though she’d only been charged with first-degree murder. The jury acquitted her of first-degree murder, and chose to convict her second-degree murder. When Bernini sentenced Sprang, she imposed the minimum sentence of 10 years because she had “residual doubts” as to Sprang’s guilt.
If I had been the judge, I would have had doubts as well. The palm print was the size of a quarter and could have been left during normal activities. The killer could have used panties Sprang left behind and the DNA could have been transferred when Lee picked up a wet towel, touched bed linens or engaged in sexual activities with Sprang. Even more interesting was that another motel tenant testified that after Sprang left Lee’s room for the last time, she heard the TV on in Lee’s room. When the maid entered Lee’s room the morning she discovered the body, the TV was off.
But in February 2011, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Judge Bernini erred when she gave jurors the option of convicting Sprang of either first-degree murder or second-degree murder when Sprang had only been charged with first-degree murder, and they overturned Sprang’s conviction, as well as her prison sentence, and ordered that Sprang stand trial once again.
Normally defendants remain in custody until their cases are resolved, but Sprang was allowed to leave prison. She took advantage of this opportunity and move to Texas. In December it was reported that prosecutors wanted Judge Bernini to issue a nationwide arrest warrant for Sprang, stating her release was inappropriate. Sprang’s new attorney objected to this, and Bernini agreed. The last thing I could find about Sprang’s case said she would have to show up to court in January 2012 when her new trial date was set. I could find no more news regarding this new trial.Tags: Arizona, Beating, Crime, Domestic Violence, Michelle Sprang, Murder, Sreymon Claudio, toilet