N.M. Man Resentenced for 1993 Slaying
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ A former death-row inmate was resentenced to life in prison for the 1993 murder of a 12-year-old girl who was beaten, raped and set afire in the San Mateo Mountains.
Frank Martinez, a teenager at the time of the killing, was convicted in 1995 of killing Crystal LaPierre and was sentenced to death, but the sentence was thrown out last year by the state Supreme Court because Martinez was not informed of his right to be sentenced by a jury.
The case went back to state district court, which sentenced him Friday to life in prison.
Maria LaPierre, Crystal’s grandmother, who raised her, sat in the courtroom Friday for the second sentencing.
``It’s been a horrendous story. The pain will never go away,″ she said. ``Why are we, 10 years later, still (doing) this?″
Special prosecutor Tony Tupler decided against pursuing the death penalty and recommended a life sentence for the child’s murder plus 37 years for related crimes, including rape and kidnapping. He said he did so because of the age of the case and the reluctance of key witnesses to testify.
Martinez, 29, was 19 when Crystal was killed near Grants, about 75 miles west of Albuquerque. Two other teens pleaded guilty to various charges in the case. Ronnie Jaramillo, then 18, was sentenced to 30 years; John Paul Aguilar, then 16, was sentenced to 12 years.