Family of murder victim fears her killer could be set free

Posted at 12:54 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 14:54:42-05

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    Albuquerque, NM (KOAT) — “My sister, Leanne Martinez, would have been 39 last month,” said Valerie Martinez. Leanne Martinez was brutally murdered in her Taos home when she was just 22 years old.

“It was a Sunday morning. I remember because something really bothered me, and I needed to get ahold of her,” said Valerie Martinez.

That July morning 17 years ago shattered the world of the Martinez family. Richard Fresquez, who was out on parole for just a few weeks for another crime, had broken into Leanne Martinez’s home, and killed her.

“That was when reality hit that my sister was gone,” said Valerie Martinez.

Fresquez is currently serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 30 years. House Bill 564 would give him that parole chance every two years.

“There is no possibility for you to ever try and move on and have a halfway normal life, because you are dragged back into it every single time you have to address this issue,” said Valerie Martinez.

The bill has already passed the House. It states that the parole boards will consider multiple factors, not just the nature of the crime, before deciding if the inmate will be released. One of those factors is that the parole is in the best interest of both society and the inmate. It also states that the parole board can reopen any case at any time.

Valerie Martinez says, even if her sister’s killer is never let out of prison, the sheer possibility is terrifying, especially for her niece. Martinez has been raising the girl since the death of her mother. She was just 3 years old when the murder happened.

“For her to be victimized and have to go through this every single year or every two years- really does concern me,” said Valerie Martinez.

The bill is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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