Jury finds Spanish man guilty of slaying US pilgrim

AP News
Posted: Apr 05, 2017 9:05 AM

MADRID (AP) — A jury Wednesday found a Spanish man guilty of killing an Arizona woman while she was walking a world-renowned pilgrimage route in Spain in 2015.

Miguel Angel Munoz, 41, was convicted of killing Denise Pikka Thiem, 41, from Phoenix, who went missing in April 2015 in a rural area of northwestern Spain's Leon province while on the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela.

Munoz was arrested five months later and led investigators to Thiem's partly buried body.

He originally confessed to the killing but later retracted and claimed he only found the body.

The nine-member jury also found Munoz guilty of stealing more than $1,100 dollars from Thiem.

A judge will decide the sentence.

Prosecutors have asked for him to be given up to 27 years in jail for homicide and five years for theft with violence.

The trial took place last month in Leon city.

The jury found Thiem was diverted from the pilgrimage trail by a marker Munoz put up to confuse pilgrims and lead them near his house.

According to the coroner's report, she died as a result of serious brain injuries caused by repeated beatings.