U.S. man who killed girlfriend, stuffed body in suitcase gets 42 years for femicide in Colombia

6/4: CBS Evening News


An American man was sentenced to 42 years in prison in Bogota on Tuesday for the murder of a famous Colombian DJ in a case that drew international outrage from women’s rights activists.

John Nelson Poulos was arrested in January 2023 in Panama while on the run from Colombian authorities for the murder of 23-year-old Valentina Trespalacios, whom he’d dated for just under a year.

Prosecutors said he beat and suffocated her “in the midst of a jealous attack.”

Security camera footage showed Poulos leaving his apartment pushing a cart with a large suitcase, and Trespalacios’ body had been stuffed inside.

Her corpse was later discovered in a garbage container.

The year before, the Colombian Femicide Observatory, a non-governmental organization, recorded 612 femicides in the country, though the government only recorded 100.

Femicide has been a distinct crime in Colombia since 2015.

The European Institute for Gender Equality says femicide “is deeply rooted in and a manifestation of power imbalances in society, which promotes an unequal status for men and women.”

The institute says femicide “is broadly defined as the killing of a woman or girl because of her gender and can take different forms, such as the murder of women as a result of intimate partner violence; the torture and misogynist slaying of women; killing of women and girls in the name of ‘honor,’ etc.”

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