DENVER (CBS4) – After a Denver jury found Edward Romero guilty on all counts on Monday in his first degree murder trial, they wanted to meet with the victim’s family.
Romero showed no emotion in court at noon when verdict was read. Jurors agreed that he killed and dismembered 16-year-old Alicia Martinez after a party at his home in 2010.
Romero had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He will be sentenced in early March.
After the verdict was read Martinez’s stepmother Antoinette Paniagua said she hopes Romero “rots in jail” and that “justice was done for Alicia.”
Jurors got the chance to meet Martinez’s family after the trial. They Embraced and wiped away their tears. They said it was difficult for everyone to hear the details of her death during trial.
“They can’t imagine how we all lived the last two plus years,” Paniagua said. “Just them wanting to come and say something to the family I think was very appreciated.”
Both the prosecution and defense agreed on many elements during the trial, including that Martinez, 16, was at Romero’s home that night but that something happened in the garage and he killed her and cut up her body. That’s where the similarities in the cases ended.
Romero’s lawyers claimed he doesn’t remember what happened before Martinez was killed because he blacked out. They said they believe he suffers from a trauma disorder called DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) from abuse he suffered in his life. Defense attorneys also claimed Romero that has been diagnosed with a personality disorder. They said that once Romero awoke from blacking out he saw that Martinez was dead and decided to conceal it and dismember her body.
“Somebody who is insane is not organized, doesn’t go step through step what he did to Alicia,” Paniagua told CBS4. “We all believed he was faking it, although we know mental illness does exist, but I think he gave those people a bad name.”
Romero’s friend Manny Gonzales testified during the trial that Romero told him after the murder “I killed Alicia. She got out of line and I had to kill her.”
Francesca Pagliasotti, who was Romero’s girlfriend at the time, is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted of charges including being an accessory to murder. Prosecutors said she helped clean up the crime scene.
Another woman who prosecutors said took Martinez to the party where the crime happened pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Jacque Perea said she left the teen at the party after a few hours. She was the first witness called to the stand during the trial.