NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A woman accused of helping her husband kill his half-sister and hide the body in a basement for years has been found guilty.
Desiree Fransen, also known as Desiree Sanchez, has been found guilty of first-degree murder and unlawful removal of a dead body for the death of Margarita Sandoval. News 4 crews inside the courtroom said as the verdict was read, Fransen rolled her head in what appeared to be disapproval and disbelief.
Investigators said Sandoval had cognitive disabilities. The 19-year-old’s family stopped hearing from her in 2018 after she moved in with Fransen and her husband, Octavio Sanchez.
“The victim was one of the suspect’s sisters,” Major Jamie Shattuck, with the Norman Police Department, told News 4 back in 2022.
Attorneys also said Sandoval had allegedly been caught inappropriately touching one of the Sanchez’s children.
Investigators said the couple would continue to get nearly $31,000 dollars in benefits, plus $3,200 in economic impact statements, until Sandoval’s body was found.
In 2021, Norman police got an out-of-state tip about a body under basement stairs of a home on Lindsey street. The homeowner, Miguel Munoz, testified he felt threatened by Fransen and Sanchez. He
Last week, the jury watched footage of officers spending several minutes trying to get to Margarita’s body in a tote.
The officer said “there was a lot of layers” of tape, plastic wrap, and rope, before hitting brown liquid, bugs, and the smell.
Testimony revealed the Sanchezes had one of their children help wrap the tote at one point, telling them they were wrapping a present.
An investigator told the jury police found social security checks and Sandoval’s mail at the Sanchez’s home.
In January, the couple pleaded guilty to stealing the checks in federal court.
Prosecutors showed the jury dozens of Facebook messages during which the couple called Sandoval “fat garbage,” “trash,” and said they needed to “get rid of her.”
Prosecutors said the Sanchezes came up with a plan. If they ever got caught, they would pin it all on Octavio.
The defense argued that made more sense. They also pointed out Octavio has a criminal background, said he was in a gang, and drank. Defense attorneys also said the state’s timeline didn’t make sense and pointed out prosecutors didn’t have a concrete theory on how exactly Sandoval was killed.
Prosecutors said the body was too badly decomposed to know the exact cause of death.
As for the crime solely falling on Octavio, the state said a message from Fransen that said, “You didn’t do it though, honestly” disproves that.
Now, Fransen has been found guilty of Murder in the First Degree and Unlawful Removal of Dead Body.
The jury has recommended life with the possibility of parole. Sentencing will take place in early 2024.