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    "American Gladiators" Champ Murdered

    Former American Gladiators grand champion Cheryl Wilson-Minelli, 31, was brutally killed by her husband Monday night, and police believe their three and one-half year-old daughter may have been a witness.

    Juan Minelli, 34, is being held without bond on a murder charge by Oakland Park Police in Florida. Minelli, a former pro boxer, is accused of punching and knocking his wife to the floor, choking her and repeatedly stabbing her with kitchen knives. Police say she escaped at one point, but that he dragged her back into the house after stabbing her a few times outside, and finally hit her in the head with a steel hammer.

    Minelli himself reported the murder. He showered, called his parents, then dialed 911 to say, "I just killed my wife. Send everybody." His call to his parents, according to Sgt. Patrick Murray of Oakland Park Police, was a plea for money to leave the country. He instead got instructions from his father to call police.

    Minelli told police he became enraged after his wife came home from work late, believing she had been at the home of a female lover. The couple were married in 1992. Police had no record of domestic abuse calls on them.

    Wilson-Minelli was the 1993 grand champion of the popular syndicated show, which pits contestants against the series' strong-arm regulars. The former Louisiana State University athlete ranked second in the United States and tenth in the world in the heptathlon in 1991--qualifying her for the world championship team.

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