| Crime |

Arturo Navarrete-Portillo Murder Motive: Wife Said Other Man "F*cked Me Better"

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

At first, Carbondale's Arturo Navarrete-Portillo said he didn't know why he'd used a machete to kill his wife, Maria Carminda Portillo-Amaya.

But he says he knows now.

In court this week, Navarrete-Portillo maintained that jealousy over another man's sexual superiority drove him to commit the horrific act.

“She said the other one fucked me better and that I was useless," he testified, adding, "I felt like the most unhappy man in the world.”

As noted by the Aspen Daily News, whose coverage of this horrific case has been stellar, Navarrete-Portillo took the stand in an attempt to convince the jury that his act was impulsive, not premeditated, and thereby earn himself a conviction not for first-degree murder, but the second-degree variation on the crime.

The case dates back to February 2015.

According to an affidavit obtained by 7News, Navarrete-Portillo first came to police attention due to a traffic accident: He smashed into a cattle truck on Highway 133 in what may have been an attempt to kill himself — though his blood-alcohol level was a staggering .35, more than four times over the legal limit for intoxication.

After being helicoptered to a hospital in Grand Junction, Navarrete-Portillo admitted to killing his wife, even directing authorities to the apartment they shared on Cooper Place in Carbondale.

As for why he'd used the machete to hack her to death, the police report says, "They were arguing about something but he couldn't remember what it was, he kind of went crazy.

"He said he killed his wife, he doesn't know how it happened but he left in his car because he was crazy at that time, not in his right mind and left because he'd done that," the account continued.

His version of events shifted over time. During a subsequent interview, the Daily News reveals, he claimed that he and his wife had a murder-suicide pact.

In court, Navarrete-Portillo conceded that he'd fabricated this tale under questioning from prosecutor Matt Barrett.

“You said Maria was upset about work, right?” Barrett asked.

“Yes," Navarrete-Portillo said.

Barrett followed with this: “So upset about work that she wanted you to do her first, meaning taking that machete to her face, right?”

Navarrete-Portillo's response: “Yes, that was true, but it was a lie.”

“The jury should forget about that because today is the truth?” Barrett wanted to know.

“That’s why I came up here, to tell the truth,” Navarrete-Portillo said.

“To tell the truth or save yourself?”

“To tell the truth,” he answered.

Closing arguments in the case are expected to take place today. Here's a look at another set of Navarrete-Portillo booking photos.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.