Sunday, 2 August 2015

Angela Sanford & "The Witchcraft Murder"

Mention the Wicca religion to most people, and they will think it is some form of witchcraft, or that it is a Pagan religion, will instantly believe it uses human sacrifice as part of it.  You may even conjure up images like "The Wicker Man" - though most men would probably think of the naked girls dancing around the fire!  In reality, it is an ancient  religion that worships the natural order of the Earth - my younger brother & sister follow it - and it probably made the heights of absurdity in the Rachel Nickell murder.  The actual killer, Robert Napper, was not a Pagan but the prime suspect for over a decade, Colin Stagg, was.  Knowing what kind of crap the tabloid press throw out to the public, it took on more sinister implications than was actual fact.  But there was a murder committed by someone claiming to be a witch, but it happened in the United States.  Angela Sanford claimed to be a follower of Wicca, and authorities believe the murder she was convicted of, was a sacrifice.  Followers of Wicca have spoken out that sacrifice or violence is not part of their religion.

    The participants in this drama were Angela Sanford, 30, & Joel Leyva, 52.  It was in March 2010 when they met up and went out to the desert outside Albuquerque, in New Mexico, to celebrate Beltane, an event in the Wicca religion.  Later on, a hiker come across a woman crouching behind a boulder, clad only in underwear.  She begged the man to call Police.  When the Police arrived, she told them that the man who was with her, had tried to rape her and she was forced to stab him in self defence.  But when Police surveyed the crime scene, they did not believe it happened the way she said.  Her clothes were neatly folded and the victim, Joel Leyva, had multiple stab wounds.  She claimed that she needed to relieve herself and that Leyva insisted on watching, and then pounced on her.  She said that she persuaded him to calm down by stripping down, then grabbing a knife and stabbing him three times.

    Police did not believe her and she was charged with murder.  She cut a deal and pleaded to 2nd degree murder and received 20 years.  In an interview with Forensic Psychiatrist Dr Michael Stone, she refused to say why her clothes were neatly folded when Leyva was supposed to have attacked her and she removed clothes in order to calm him.  Leyva was stabbed more than 11 times, yet she said she struck only three times.  She had no answer for the excess of knife wounds, save the "I must have blacked out" explanation.  Police believe it was premeditated and it could have been a "sacrifice" though Wicca followers have stated this has no place in their religion.  The only explanation then, is that she simply wanted to kill.  The only person who truly knows is Angela Sanford.