Migrant worker convicted of 2002 Lowndes rape, murder - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Migrant worker convicted of 2002 Lowndes rape, murder


Maurilio Martinez was found guilty Tuesday of the 2002 rape and murder of Joy Morris in Valdosta.  The Lowndes County jury took less than an hour to convict Martinez. 

Lowndes County Superior Court Judge James G. Tunison, II sentenced Martinez to a life sentence, plus 25 years Wednesday.

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine provided this background on the murder of Ms. Morris and the arrest and conviction of Martinez-

The case was presented at trial this week by the Office of the District Attorney J. David Miller. Following only 55 minutes of jury deliberations, Martinez was found guilty of both murder and rape.

On Friday, November 1, 2002 the deceased body of Joy Morris was found in her vehicle at 6972 Lake Park Bellville Road in Lake Park. An investigation revealed that Joy Morris died as the result of strangulation.

Investigators with the Sheriff's Office conducted a number of interviews but developed few leads until 2007 when a potential match to a DNA sample was obtained. Detectives with the Valdosta Police Department had obtained a sample from Maurilio Martinez, which when tested, was found to be a match to DNA collected during the Sheriff's Office investigation.

During additional investigative efforts, investigators learned that Maurilio Martinez was a migrant worker and had previously worked in the Lake Park area. In late 2009 Maurilio Martinez was found to be living in Casselberry, Florida and had been arrested there for offenses unrelated to this investigation.

In early 2010 investigators from the Sheriff's Office worked closely with detectives from the Casselberry Police Department conducting interviews and collecting evidence. Based on information learned during those efforts and the match in DNA samples an arrest warrant was obtained for Maurilio Martinez for the offenses of murder and rape.

Maurilio Martinez was arrested on February 8, 2010 and returned to Lowndes County.

Sheriff Prine praised the cooperative efforts of the multiple departments including the Valdosta Police Department, Casselberry, Florida Police Department, the Seminole County, Florida Sheriff's Office and the Office of the District Attorney, J. David Miller.

Sheriff Prine also stated that he was hopeful that this verdict may provide some closure to the family.

Maurilio Martinez is currently 42 years old, and at the time of his arrest lived at an address in Casselberry, Florida.

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