SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A man convicted of a murder that occurred in 2004 has been denied a new trial or a reduction in his sentence.
In 2017, a jury found Benjamin Martinez guilty of murder in the first degree on the theory of extreme atrocity or cruelty when the body of Caridad Puente was found in a closet of her Springfield apartment on June 9, 2004.
According to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Martinez filed for an appeal claiming the judge excluded certain evidence the defendant sought to introduce, and omitted certain jury instructions, resulting in reversible error. Martinez also argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to establish that he committed the offense.
During the trial, Martinez said he bought heroin from the Caridad Puente and claimed that another person was responsible for killing the victim. Martinez said his blood was found in the victim’s apartment because he accidentally injured himself while unsuccessfully injecting heroin.
“In June 2004, the victim was engaged in selling heroin from her apartment where she lived with her two young sons and a male known only as “Monster.” At approximately 8:30 A.M. on June 9, the victim’s sister picked up the victim’s older son to take him to school. A witness observed two men leaving the victim’s apartment between 11:15 A.M. and 12:30 P.M. and another man banging on the victim’s door around 2:20 P.M. At approximately 3:30 P.M., after the victim failed to pick her son up from school, the victim’s sister went to the apartment to check on her. Upon arrival, she found the door locked and heard the sound of a baby crying inside. The sister broke one of the apartment windows and, upon entering, discovered the victim’s lifeless body propped up in a sitting position against the back wall of a closet in a pool of blood, with her toddler son by her side crying. The victim had suffered thirty-two sharp force injuries to her face, neck, and chest.”Supreme Judicial Court of Mass.