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The state Supreme Court has rejected the argument that a Clovis man could not have raped his victim because he had killed her before violating her.
Lorenzo Martinez, 54, was convicted of one count of first-degree murder and one count of criminal sexual penetration after an October 2018 trial and was sentenced to life in prison. The crime occurred on Feb. 13, 2017 while the two were drinking at Martinez’s house.
Martinez told police he “just snapped,” grabbed a knife from the kitchen and fatally stabbed the woman multiple times in the neck, according to a written opinion issued by the Supreme Court on Thursday. Martinez told authorities he then had sex with her corpse.
Martinez’s attorney appealed the criminal sexual penetration conviction by arguing that the victim was dead before the alleged rape and that there was no physical evidence to corroborate his confession to police, among other assertions.
The high court examined whether state law requires a person to be alive to be the victim of criminal sexual penetration and ultimately disagreed with Martinez’s argument.
“We conclude, consistent with precedent, that based on its plain meaning, the purpose of the CSP statute is to protect against forcible, nonconsensual sexual penetration of a person’s body,” Justice David Thomson wrote in the opinion.
The opinion states that the condition the victim was found in is enough evidence to corroborate Martinez’s confession to raping her. Thomson noted that state law does not prohibit necrophilia or the abuse of a corpse.
Martinez also challenged his murder conviction by saying that he was not sane at the time of the killing because of his mental illness and because he didn’t have deliberate intent. Martinez was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has experienced symptoms since he was 19, including hearing voices that told him to harm himself or others, the ruling states.
The court disagreed with this assertion as well.
“After Defendant developed the intent to kill, he then took conscious steps to walk through his house to retrieve a knife, address Victim in a theatrical manner saying that he had a ‘present’ for her, and finally manipulate her neck before stabbing her,” Thomson wrote.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement that he was “very pleased that we were able to uphold justice for the victims in this case.”
A spokeswoman from the Law Offices of the Public Defender said the office has no comment on the opinion.
Justices Michael E. Vigil, Barbara Vigil and Shannon Bacon concurred with the ruling. Justice Julie Vargas, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in December, did not participate.