Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

10 Years Later, Killer Gets Life.(Final)

Byline: Jeff Jones Journal Staff Writer

Family of 12-year-old N.M. girl slain in 1993 wonders why justice took so long

Maria LaPierre stiffened and tried to hold back tears Friday as a handcuffed and leg-shackled Frank Martinez shuffled into an Albuquerque courtroom.

It took only a few minutes for a state District Court judge to sentence the 29-year-old Martinez to life in prison for the brutal killing of 12-year-old Crystal LaPierre, the granddaughter Maria LaPierre had adopted and raised.

Those few minutes of justice came 10 years after Crystal was beaten, raped, stabbed, choked, drowned in a mudhole and set afire on Mount Taylor near Grants.

"It's been a horrendous story. The pain will never go away," the still-grieving Maria LaPierre, 64, said before the hearing. …

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