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John Poulos Sentenced to 42 years and 8 Months for Killing His Colombian Girlfriend

06-24-2024, photo from Noticias Caracol

John Poulos, an American citizen, has just been sentenced to 42 years and 8 months to a Colombian prison for the murder of his girlfriend, Valentina Trespalacios, a 23-year-old Colombian DJ. The incident has drawn significant media attention due to its brutal nature and the international aspects involved.

Background of the Case

John Poulos, a financial advisor from Wisconsin, met Trespalacios on the dating app Tinder in April 2022. Their relationship developed quickly, with Poulos making several trips to Colombia over the next ten months. They planned to get married and were even looking to buy a house together. However, their relationship was troubled by Poulos' controlling behavior and jealousy, which eventually led him to hire a private investigator to follow Trespalacios to Aruba.

The Crime

On January 22, 2023, Poulos killed Trespalacios in a rented apartment in Bogotá. According to prosecutors, Poulos strangled Trespalacios during a sexual encounter, later claiming he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol and had little memory of the event. After realizing she was dead, Poulos stuffed her body into a suitcase and disposed of it in a dumpster near El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá. He then fled to Panama, intending to fly to Turkey and eventually Montenegro, a country without an extradition treaty with Colombia.

Arrest and Legal Proceedings

Poulos was arrested on January 24, 2023, at Tocumen International Airport in Panama while trying to board a flight to Istanbul. He was subsequently extradited to Colombia, where he faced charges of aggravated femicide and concealment of evidence. During his court hearings, Poulos confessed to the murder but cited a lack of clear memory due to his intoxicated state. He also expressed concerns about receiving a fair trial in Colombia, alleging corruption within the legal system.


On June 4, 2024, the Colombian judiciary sentenced Poulos to 42 year and 8 months in a Colombian Prison. The case has sparked widespread outrage in Colombia, highlighting issues of domestic violence and femicide. Trespalacios' family and the public have closely followed the proceedings, demanding justice for the young DJ who was on the verge of a promising career.

Poulos' case serves as a grim reminder of the potential dangers in relationships marked by control and jealousy, and it underscores the importance of addressing domestic violence globally.

Additional Stories:


The City Paper Bogota

Yahoo News

Discreet Services, Inc. did not do business with, nor did we have any communications or consultations with Mr. Poulos.

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