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

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.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts