Arrest in 2009 murder, rape of Astoria student


| ctumola@queenscourier.com |

File photo
File photo

Updated Thursday, September 26, 2:00 p.m.

Four years after the brutal killing of a 23-year-old Astoria student, police have arrested a man for her rape and murder.

Jose Martinez, 30, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection to the July 2009 death of Carmen Saldana, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. He has also been charged with rape, predatory sexual assault, kidnapping, criminal sexual act, burglary, unlawful imprisonment, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

The body of Saldana, a Fashion Institute of Technology student, was discovered by her mother inside their 30th Avenue home, lying face up in her mother’s bed, wrapped in a comforter and completely nude with bruises on her knees and right side of her body, according to police sources.

Two days later, the medical examiner’s office classified her death as a homicide by asphyxiation.

The night she was killed, Saldana had attended a party in Long Island City, and, based on video evidence, had left there unaccompanied, around 1:30 a.m., said officials.

As Saldana was heading home from that party, Martinez saw her on the street and allegedly offered to walk her home, said Brown. When they reached  Saldana’s apartment, she refused his request to come inside. At that point, he allegedly kicked in the apartment’s front door, forced his way inside and then allegedly raped and killed the victim, said Brown.

Martinez, a former Queens resident, has been in prison since pleading guilty last year to reckless endangerment in connection to a 2011 arrest for attacking a cab driver at LaGuardia Airport. He was scheduled to be released today.

A DNA sample he was required to submit because of that conviction, said the district attorney, was matched to DNA evidence that was collected at the murder scene and stored in a database.

Martinez was indicted in court today and held without bail. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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