Edward Romero gets life without parole for murder of Denver teen

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DENVER — The most likely scenario played out at the sentencing hearing for Edward Romero Tuesday, as the man convicted of killing and dismembering the body of Denver teen Alicia Martinez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole.

Defense attorneys for Romero said their client wished to waive his right to appear at the hearing, but after a defense objection, a Judge William Robins ordered him to attend. Romero slumped over as the sentence was read.

“This is as severe a case, as horrible a case as I have ever seen,” Robins said. “It deserves the severest penalty I can impose.”

In her statement to the court, Alicia Martinez’s grandmother asked Robins to take his order to Romero one step further, forcing the man convicted of murdering her grand daughter to look at her while she spoke.

“I would like him to look at me and tell me why,” she said. “Is that possible?”

Robins said it was not. That did not seem to matter to Martinez’s mother, Vanessa Martinez, who seemed dead set on moving on Tuesday.

“Today is the day we walk out of this courtroom and never look back,” she said. “Today is the day I can close the door on your (Romero’s) destruction and open a new one.”

In achieving the guilty verdict, prosecutors said that after shooting Martinez twice, Romero dismembered her body in an attempt to cover up his crime. Romero’s attorneys didn’t dispute those points, but said their client was insane when he killed the 16-year-old.

Martinez was killed after a house party in the 4100 block of Decatur St. in October 2010. Romero was convicted of murder on Feb. 4.

Testimony in the trial took two weeks, and it was so graphic that Martinez’s mother, Vanessa Martinez, said sometimes she could not bear to listen what officials say happened to her daughter.

Romero’s attorney said his client was not guilty by reason of insanity. The claim was that the evil half of a split personality took him over that night. If the jury had found Romero not guilty by reason of insanity, Romero would have been sent to the Colorado Mental Health Institute until he was rehabilitated. At that point in time, he could have been released.

The victim’s family didn’t buy the defense and said Romero was faking his condition.

“It was all one big show,” Vanessa said.

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