Guilty Verdict: Texas Woman Who Fled to Cambodia Convicted of Murder in Stabbing of Seattle Woman

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In a significant legal development, Lisa Dykes, a Texas woman who had absconded by cutting off her ankle monitor while awaiting trial, has been found guilty of murder in the fatal stabbing of 23-year-old Seattle resident Marisela Botello-Valadez in 2020. The verdict was delivered by a Dallas jury following a seven-day trial, where Dykes, 60, was also convicted of tampering with evidence. Reports from KDFW-TV state that Dykes showed no emotion as the judge pronounced the guilty verdict.

Heath Harris, Dykes’ attorney, asserted that his client continues to assert her innocence and has initiated the process of appealing the verdict. There has been no immediate response from the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to queries seeking comments on the case.

This conviction comes on the heels of prosecutors dropping murder charges against two individuals, Nina Marano and Charles Anthony Beltran, who were initially accused in connection with Botello-Valadez’s death. However, Marano and Beltran still face charges related to tampering with evidence.

The decision to dismiss the murder charges coincided with Beltran’s testimony during the trial. The 34-year-old revealed that he resided with Marano and Dykes and recounted meeting Botello-Valadez at a nightclub. He detailed that they went to his residence, engaged in consensual activities, and he fell asleep, only to wake up to screams as Dykes allegedly stabbed Botello-Valadez. During questioning by Harris, Beltran admitted to initially providing false information to investigators.

The arrests of Dykes, Marano (52), and Beltran occurred six months after Botello-Valadez’s disappearance in October 2020. Her remains were discovered in wooded areas months after being reported missing in Dallas.

The case gained international attention when Dykes and Marano, while on bond, removed their ankle monitors, eventually surfacing in Cambodia. Authorities, in collaboration with the FBI, apprehended them in Cambodia. This complex and tragic case underscores the challenges and intricacies involved in legal proceedings, from the initial incident to international efforts in apprehending the accused individuals.

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