Martinez disappeared on October 24, 2010, and shortly thereafter, Denver Police arrested Romero, now 25, on suspicion of first degree murder. However, it took a while for the coroner's office to name 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 identified 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 her body had been dismembered. Some parts were never found, and skin was removed from others.
Days later, Pagliasotti, Romero's girlfriend (she's now 26), was accused of being an accessory to first-degree murder. Her trial wound up being scheduled prior to his, and in opening statements yesterday, prosecutor Henry Cooper laid out the awful case in greater detail than has heretofore been made 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.
Look below for lots of supplementary material: booking photos of Romero and Pagliasotti, 9News coverage from yesterday and late 2010, and an interactive graphic showing the area near the scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
View Larger Map
More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Liz Tomocik: Shooter in Gerald Cler murder-suicide worked at Attorney General's office (25)."