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Man Sentenced To Death For Murder of Wife in Mexican Resort Town

October 27, 1992 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) _ A man convicted of bludgeoning his wife to death so he and his transsexual lover could collect $1 million in insurance money was sentenced to death Monday.

Dan Willoughby, 53, tearfully declared his innocence before Judge Joseph Howe handed down the sentence for the Feb. 23, 1991, slaying of his wife, Patricia ″Trish″ Willoughby.

″I love my children more than my life, and I love my wife more than my life,″ he said.

Willoughby, who was convicted in May of first-degree murder and conspiracy, could have been sentenced to life in prison.


His former lover, transsexual Yesenia Gonzalez Patino, testified that Willoughby lured his wife to a rented home in the seaside town of Puerto Penasco, Mexico, and crushed her skull with a homemade mace.

Patino said she went into the house after Willoughby left with his children, who had been outside.

She said she then stabbed Mrs. Willoughby with a butter knife, pulled two rings from her fingers, stole $13 from a purse and scattered papers to make the crime look like a robbery.

Patino, who was a man until a sex change in 1982, is imprisoned in Mexico. Prosecutors say she faces 35 to 40 years in prison for her role in the killing.

Willoughby’s lawyer, David Ochoa, contended Patino was a spurned lover who orchestrated the killing, then lied in court in hopes of winning a lighter sentence.

But Assistant Attorney General Steve Mitchell said Willoughby engineered the murder plot.

Arizona authorities said they brought charges against him because the crime was planned in their state.

Willoughby told the judge the worst thing he did was commit adultery.

″In this case, I helped the wrong person. Not in murder, not in conspiracy, but something I’m ashamed of,″ he said.