‘Injustice with Nancy Grace’: The lack of motive in murder of real estate developer Andrew Kissel in 2006 baffles investigators

When real estate developer Andrew Kissel, 46, was found dead in his rented Connecticut home in 2006, the police had a lot of suspects to consider. After all, Kissel himself had been in the middle of a fraud case, something that the FBI had been discussing.

A lot of powerful people had problems with him, including those from the U.S. Justice Department, several multi-billion dollar corporations, banks, creditors, his former partner in a real estate brokerage, Hanrock Group LLC. and his wife. However, the motive was a headscratcher. 

Kissel was facing federal bank fraud charges for acquiring huge bank loans while heavily in debt on the properties used as collateral. He was also facing a state indictment in Manhattan for siphoning $3.9 million from a company. He was facing lawsuits worth millions of dollars.

The police had a host of suspects to choose from, but their eyes had been fixed on one man right from the beginning.

Kissel’s chauffeur, Carlos Trujillo. The main reason behind this, according to a report in the Stamford Advocate, was because of how much he switched his alibi.

Plus, Trujillo was known to get Kissel drugs and he had been found with cocaine in his body at the time of his death.

Kissel’s body had been found with his limbs tied and he had been gagged as well as blindfolded, leading investigators Pasquale Iorfino and Detective Sgt. Pierangelo Corticelli of the Greenwich police to believe that the crime had been personal. He had been stabbed to death.

Every time the detectives investigated Trujillo’s whereabouts on the night of the murder, they would uncover lies. “We were never able to exclude Carlos as a suspect,” Corticelli told the news outlet back in 2011, “Every single time we would try, it just came back to him with his lies.”

After all, who would have heard Kissel’s scream from the basement of a secluded mansion? The killer or killers didn’t realize that Kissel begging for mercy would be harder than they thought it would be, the two said. Judging from the crime scene and the way the body was found, cops were certain that they were dealing with two people.

Trujillo was arrested in 2008 and charged him with conspiracy to commit murder at first. He was later slapped with a murder and an attempted murder charge. The police also arrested his cousin Leonard Trujillo. Leonard pleaded guilty to manslaughter and testified in 2009 against Carlos saying that he was a part of the plan to kill Kissel for $11,000 and a computer. He, however, had backed out after he had been paid and said that he had no idea what had happened at the night of the murder. Leonard was sentenced to 20 years in prison. 

Even though the cousins were in jail, the investigators still couldn’t figure out a motive that fit the crime. Had he paid someone to kill him to avoid jail?  However, the cause of death did not match this theory. It hadn’t been an easy death. They had no breakthrough in the case for five years, until one day, they found something when they revisited the evidence.

An innocent credit card turned out to be the break they needed. As they poked and prodded, connections to the drug cartels were uncovered along with chilling secrets about the entire plan. 

Catch the full story on the latest episode of ‘Injustice with Nancy Grace’ this Saturday at 6/5c on Oxygen.

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