Crime

Joseph Romero Admits Killing GF Phenia Martinez 8 Months Into Pregnancy

It was one of the most shocking and brutal allegations of early 2015.

And now, Joseph Romero, the man at whom the finger was pointed, has acknowledged it was true.

Romero has admitted guilt in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Phenia Martinez, when she was eight months pregnant.

The concession is part of a plea agreement that puts Romero away for a long stretch — and while he will still have a chance to breathe free air again, it's a slim one.


As we've reported, Martinez, who was 25 at the time of her death, had multiple Facebook pages, with one of them dominated by photos of young children.

She also shared a variety of portraits beyond the pic at the top of this post, including this one....


...and this one....


...and the following effects-laden image:

There was a considerable age discrepancy between Martinez and Romero. At the time of his arrest, he was 56, with a criminal record that dated back more than three decades.

According to KOAA-TV, he had racked up multiple felony convictions beginning in 1980, including an eight-year sentence for assault in 1994.

However, all charges were dropped in what had been his most recent assault charge prior to last year's incident — one that dated back to 2000.

Police began looking for Romero again after Martinez was reported missing; the last time she was seen alive was January 5 of last year.

The Pueblo Police Department noted that detectives with the special-victims section began investigating the case on Friday, January 9.

But a PPD spokesman told KOAA-TV that no relatives had a key to access her apartment, on the 1900 block of West 13th Street in Pueblo, and investigators were unable to get a search warrant until the following Monday, January 12.

That evening, they entered the residence to find Martinez dead, reportedly of multiple stab wounds in her neck and torso.

Shortly thereafter, an arrest warrant was obtained in Romero's name and a gray Dodge Dakota associated with the couple was located.

Nonetheless, Romero remained at large until 7:30 p.m. on January 15, when he walked into the Pueblo Municipal Justice Center and surrendered to authorities.

Now, the Pueblo Chieftain reports that Romero has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case.

The plea agreement includes a stipulated sentence of 35 years in prison, the Chieftain notes.

If he serves the entire jolt, Romero will be in his early nineties when he gets out.

Our condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Phenia Martinez.

Look below to see Romero's booking photo, followed by a KOAA report broadcast after Martinez's body was found but before her boyfriend's surrender.

KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts