Corona man admits to strangling Astoria woman with his bare hands

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

He killed a woman as a teenager, and now a Corona man may spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Jose Martinez, 22, formerly of Northern Boulevard, plead guilty on Friday to second-degree murder for fatally choking 23-year-old Carmen Saldana of 30th Avenue in Astoria with his bare hands following an altercation in July 2009.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown noted that Martinez was just 15 when he killed Saldana, and will likely be sentenced as a juvenile offender to serve 14 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak on Jan. 27, 2016.

In pleading guilty, prosecutors said, Martinez admitted that, while riding a bicycle, he approached Saldana in the area of her 30th Avenue apartment on July 12, 2009. He started talking to her, then followed her home.

Once inside the apartment, authorities said, Martinez and Saldana began to argue, leading to a physical struggle, during which Martinez wrapped his hands around Saldana’s neck and choked her to death.

As the Ridgewood Times reported in January 2013, Martinez’s DNA — obtained after he plead guilty in 2012 to a felony charge for assaulting a cab driver at LaGuardia Airport in 2011 — matched genetic evidence found in Saldana’s apartment. A grand jury indicted Martinez with the murder in September 2013.

“A young woman’s life was senselessly cut short and [Martinez], now an adult, will face a lengthy term behind bars when sentenced next month,” Brown said in a statement on Monday.

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