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The New Mexico Supreme Court has unanimously concluded that a murder victim doesn't have to be alive at the time of a rape for a conviction.

54-year-old Lorenzo Martinez called police back on February 13th, 2017 and told them that he had stabbed Mary Neal multiple times in the neck before having sex with her body twice. Martinez says he stabbed Neal because she was "irritating" him. When asked what she did that irritated, Martinez responded with "by being alive."

The Eastern New Mexico News reports that Martinez idolized serial killers, saying he had been wanting to kill a person for a long time, and that it felt good when he actually did it.

Martinez's attorney said it was evident that he was mentally ill, but the court determined he was sane at the time of the killing, despite suffering from schizophrenia since the age of 19.

Martinez was convicted of first-degree murder and third-degree criminal sexual penetration. He was sentenced to life in prison and is required to serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.

In an appeal, Martinez claimed that New Mexico law required a rape victim to be alive at the time of the crime for the statute to apply, but the Court disagreed.

Justice David K. Thomson wrote:

It is critical to articulate that the CSP statute § 30-9-11, extends protections to victims who are unable to express consent. We therefore determine that it would be contrary to the spirit of the statute to exclude victims who were unable to consent or resist solely because the perpetrator ‘rendered the victim permanently unconscious’ by killing the victim.

 

Therefore, in circumstances where the perpetrator rendered the victim physically helpless by killing the victim before committing the CSP, the deceased victim is a legal person for the limited purpose of applying the CSP statute. As in situations where the perpetrator causes a victim to become unconscious through violent means or by deliberate incapacitation using drugs or alcohol before committing CSP, the perpetrator may not then benefit from the victim’s inability to consent,” the Court reasoned. “Any other result would be contrary to the purpose and intent of the statute to protect victims from forcible sexual penetration that they did not, or could not, consent to.

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