After more than two years, the family, friends and loved ones of Alicia Martinez finally, finally, finally got to witness the conviction of Edward Romero in the 2010 murder of the sixteen year old -- one of the most brutal slayings in recent memory.
Details, photos of the principals, videos and an interactive graphic below.
As we've reported, Martinez disappeared on October 22, 2010, following a party she'd attended with an older friend, and shortly thereafter, Denver Police arrested Romero on suspicion of first degree murder. However, it took a while for the coroner's office to positively identify the victim, in part because of what was described in a release as "some disfigurement." This turned out to be a considerable understatement. Martinez was ultimately ID'd through the use of dental records.
That December, Denver District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough took the highly unusual step of contacting media outlets prior to the release of the autopsy report to encourage reporters to be responsible about sharing the shocking results, for the sake of Martinez's family. And no wonder, since Martinez's body had been dismembered. Some parts were never found, and skin was removed from others.
Days later, Francesca Pagliasotti, Romero's girlfriend, was accused of being an accessory to first-degree murder. Her trial wound up being scheduled prior to his, and in opening statements, prosecutor Henry Cooper laid out the awful case in more detail than had previously been shared with the public.
According to Cooper, Pagliasotti wasn't home when Romero allegedly killed Martinez by shooting her twice in the head. But upon her arrival, she found him in the garage, chopping up the girls' body; he's said to have put some of the smaller pieces into the kitchen blender.
That's the kind of sight that would inspire most people to call the cops immediately. But not Pagliasotti, who has two children with Romero. The morning after, Cooper maintained, she got out a mop and a bucket and started cleaning up Martinez's blood.
During his turn before the jury, Craig Mastro, Pagliasotti's attorney, argued that his client's behavior was motivated by systematic long-term abuse on Romero's part. He said that over time, Romero had raped her, stabbed her in the back and treated her like a dog.
Nonetheless, Pagliasotti was convicted and sentenced to ten years behind bars for her actions -- and she was front and center during Romero's trial, which found the suspect pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
In testimony, Pagliasotti reportedly told jurors that upon her return to the home she shared with Romero on the 22nd, he confessed that "I did something bad. I did something bad." He then led her to the garage, where Martinez was naked and dead on a couch, blood spattering her face.
At that point, Pagliasotti went on, Romero asked her to grab some trash bags from another room, and when she got back, he had already detached her arms from the rest of her body and was trying to do likewise with one leg through the use of a machete. He continued chopping until some of her remains were so small that he tried flushing them down a toilet.
Romero's attorneys didn't deny these actions over the course of the trial. Rather, as CBS4 pointed out, they claimed he suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder, as well as another personality disorder, due to past abuses. As such, he had no memory of the killing itself -- just of his efforts to conceal it.
In the end, a jury didn't buy this argument, finding Romero guilty of every count against him. He'll be sentenced in March.
Look below for lots of supplementary material: booking photos of Romero and Pagliasotti, a CBS4 report from yesterday, 9News coverage from March 2012 and late 2010, and an interactive graphic showing the area near the scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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