Murder conviction upheld for Lowndes illegal alien killer

ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - A Lowndes County murder case that sat cold for eight years ended with a conviction, and that conviction was upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court Tuesday.

Maurilio Martinez, a migrant worker was convicted of raping and killing a Kentucky woman, Joy Morris, who was found dead in her car behind a Lake Park motel November 1, 2002.

Morris stopped in Lake Park on her way home to Kentucky, after escorting a semi-truck from West Palm Beach.

The break in the case came when Valdosta Police investigated another rape case in April 2006. DNA evidence pointed to Martinez, but finding him wasn't easy, since he was an illegal immigrant.

Martinez was arrested for traffic violations in Casselberry, outside Orlando, Florida. Martinez was extradited to Georgia by Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

Morris was found dead in her black Mustang along a woodline behind what is now the Motel 6. She stopped off Exit 2 in Lake Park, to rest, make phone calls, get something to eat and get gas.

She was then raped and strangled.

Woody Morris, Morris's husband at the time of her death, was pleased with the results of the investigation.  He found out authorities made the arrest on their son Jason's birthday.

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