Murderer gets maximum sentence for killing teen girl

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DENVER -- Justice Tuesday for the family of a teenager brutally murdered and dismembered nearly two-and-a-half-years ago in Denver.

Judge William Robbins sentenced Edward Romero, 28, to the longest prison term possible—life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Moments after the sentence, a member of Romero’s family left the courtroom in tears—with sobs that grew increasingly louder.

But for the family of victim Alicia Martinez, walking out of the courtroom lifts a heavy burden off their shoulders.

“I’m going to walk out of this courtroom and never look back and close these doors, these old doors and start opening new ones and focus on getting some closure. And, just know that my daughter got justice,” says Alicia’s mother, Vanessa Martinez.

Romero shot the 16-year-old twice in the head at his home after a party in October 2010--then chopped up her body.

His common-law wife, Francesca Pagliasotti, is serving 10 years in prison for helping him.

Romero’s attorneys say he was insane, but the jury didn’t believe them.

“This guy could win a Grammy for how good he acted,” says Martinez about what she calls a performance in pretending he was mentally ill.

Judge Robbins said in court, “Whether or not this case is a referendum on our mental health system, that is a conversation for another day. Mr. Romero was offered help and he refused it.”

The judge also told Romero:   “…the things you did to her after you murdered her were unspeakable. This is as severe a case, as horrible a case, as I have ever seen. It deserves the severest penalty I can impose.”

But for Alicia’s family, a life sentence without their daughter is much more severe. And they must learn to move forward.

“I’m a believer in the Bible. If I ever want to see my daughter again, I mean, in order for God to forgive me and my sins I have to forgive Romero for what he did to my daughter,” she says.

But forgiveness does not mean forgetting.

“Hopefully, this is going to taunt him for the rest of his life,” says Martinez.

We also learned today several jury members were very touched by Alicia’s death. They took flowers to her grave site after reaching a guilty verdict in February.

Romero’s attorneys say they will appeal the sentence.

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