By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 17, 2010; 11:48 PM
A Montgomery County woman pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday as prosecutors wrapped up a case that covered child custody arguments, a false promise of sex and a new husband hiding behind a tree armed with an ice pick.
Maria Blanco, 23, faces up to life in prison for the killing of Samuel Chacon, 34. Authorities say she lured Chacon to her home a year ago and hugged him in a front yard near her house. Her husband, Moises E. Rodriguez, 20, then came out of hiding and attacked.
Chacon was stabbed 13 times. The ice pick punctured his heart, lungs and liver, prosecutors said.
The idea of using an ice pick, said attorneys in the case, came from an acquaintance of Rodriguez's, who had claimed to have "killed many people" and that ice picks don't cause a lot of external bleeding.
"This was essentially a sneak attack on the victim," prosecutor Eric Nee said in court.
Chacon's relatives who came to court Wednesday remembered him as someone who would always help and was easy to speak with.
"He was a fun, young, cool uncle," said nephew Onan Marroquin. "You could talk to him, literally, about anything."
Rodriguez earlier pleaded guilty in the case.
In court Wednesday, Nee laid out his case against Blanco and Rodriguez. They were married Aug. 13, 2009, only three months before the murder.
Blanco and Chacon, the man who was stabbed, had a daughter together in March 2008. About eight months later, Chacon visited Blanco and noticed bruises on their daughter, Nee said.
The girl was taken to the hospital, and Chacon took Blanco to court, accusing her of assaulting the girl. In a court hearing on that, Blanco testified that the bruises occurred when strangers invaded her home and beat her and their daughter.
"She is lying," Chacon responded, according to Nee. "She is lying because nobody could have gotten into the apartment because you have to be buzzed in."
Chacon was awarded full custody of the daughter, Nee said.
On Nov. 17, 2009, a motorist noticed a man lying next to a vehicle along Newton Street in the Wheaton area. She got out and tried to help him. He didn't respond. Because he did not appear to be bleeding, she thought that perhaps he was drunk.
But an autopsy revealed the extent of the organ damage, and indicated an ice pick was used. Wounds on Chacon's back were clear, while the ones on his front suggested movements, as if Chacon was trying to escape, Nee said.
Detectives quickly identified Chacon because he still had his wallet with him. His cellphone records linked him to Blanco, who, as it turned out, lived nearby with Rodriguez.
Blanco initially said that Chacon attacked Rodriguez with the ice pick and that Rodriguez fought back.
Detectives also spoke with Rodriguez. They found the ice pick in a desk drawer in Blanco and Rodriguez's bedroom, according to authorities.
The daughter, now 2, is living with her paternal aunt and grandmother.