Killer of US Hiker on Pilgrimage Is Sentenced

Miguel Munoz gets 23 years for slaying of Denise Pikka Thiem in Spain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 12, 2017 2:39 PM CDT
Man Who Lured Hiker to Death With Fake Marker Is Sentenced
This 2015 photo shows pilgrims walking a stretch of the Camino de Santiago across La Rioja farmland in Spain.   (Giovanna Dell'Orto via AP)

A court has sentenced a Spanish man to 23 years in jail for the murder of an Arizona woman while she was walking a world-renowned pilgrimage route in Spain, the AP reports. The court Tuesday sentenced Miguel Angel Munoz, 41, to 20 years for killing 41-year-old Denise Pikka Thiem and three years for stealing some $1,100 dollars from her. A jury found Munoz guilty April 5.

Thiem, a Phoenix resident, went missing in April 2015 in a rural area of northwestern Spain while on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Munoz was arrested five months later and led investigators to Thiem's buried body. Thiem was diverted from the pilgrimage trail by a fake marker Munoz put up to lead pilgrims near his house. She died from serious brain injuries caused by repeated beatings. (More murder stories.)

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