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Woman Charged With Competitor’s Murder

February 26, 2002

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GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ Both the victim and her alleged killer came to America, hoping to find success.

One, Alicia Kirkel, would start a household employment agency and wind up cruising this wealthy New York suburb in a new BMW.

The other, Flora Canales, who sometimes worked for the agency, would grow increasingly despondent and _ according to police _ kill Kirkel, whom she blamed for the loss of several housekeeping jobs.

Kirkel arrived from Spain as an au pair and started the agency with a partner in 1993.

``She was just determined to prove to the world she could make a success of herself in America,″ said Rosemary Peck, the partner, who had a falling out with Kirkel eight years ago over business practices. ``Her life was dominated by this.″

While Kirkel grew wealthy, Canales, who came from Guatemala, kept losing jobs as a housekeeper and cook and blamed Kirkel for supplying households with cheaper help, police and acquaintances say.

On Dec. 3, police said, Canales, 50, accused Kirkel, 41, of ruining her life, then pulled a gun from her purse and opened fire in front of horrified job applicants. Kirkel was shot three times in the chest.

Canales pleaded innocent to murder last month. She was due back in court on Wednesday for a status conference.

Peck said the agency placed Canales in three homes.

``She made top pay at the time for what she did,″ Peck said. ``She was worth it. She was a great housekeeper-cook _ meticulous in her work.″

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