Man convicted of gruesome murder and bank robberies to be sentenced in Vista

VISTA (CNS) – A man convicted of killing his female roommate then cutting off her hands and feet after she threatened to tell police that he and his friends were robbing banks is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in Vista.

Joaquin Murrieta Martinez, 32, was found guilty last May of first-degree murder.

After the conviction, defense attorney Daniel Mitts told Vista Judge Joan Weber that he doubted his client's ability to understand what was going on in court.

A different judge ruled last month that Martinez was competent and able to assist his attorney in his defense.

Today, Weber is expected to hear a defense motion for a new trial. If the motion is denied and sentencing goes ahead, Martinez faces life in prison.

Janina Hardoy's hands and feet were discovered in a Vista trash bin a few days after the 24-year-old woman disappeared in February 2005, but the rest of her body has never been found.

According to the prosecution, Martinez injected the victim with a fatal dose of heroin after she threatened to tell police that he and his friends had robbed a number of North County banks for rent and drug money.

Martinez admitted injecting Hardoy with heroin, but said it was no more than her normal dose, Deputy District Attorney Geoff Allard said.

Hardoy moved to Oceanside in late 2004 and opened her door to drifters — including Martinez — so they would have a place to sleep.

Another frequent visitor to the victim's home testified that Hardoy and Martinez, who may have had a semi-romantic relationship, often argued because the defendant had taken up with another woman at the home on East Parker Street.

The woman said Hardoy's money began to run out in early 2005 and she asked those living there to help out with the rent.

The roommates — all described as heavy drug users — started robbing banks and brought stacks of cash to the home, the woman testified.

Martinez was not charged with Hardoy's murder until 2008.

Categories: KUSI