Corona man pleads guilty to strangling Astoria woman to death

By Bill Parry

A 22-year-old Corona man faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the 2009 strangulation death of a fashion school student in Astoria, the Queens district attorney said.

Jose Martinez was riding a bicycle on July 12, 2009 when he met 23-year-old Carmen Saldana on a street and followed her to the 30th Avenue apartment she shared with her mother, the DA said. Once inside the two argued and a physical altercation ensued, according to the DA.

Martinez, who was 15 at the time, then wrapped his hands around Saldana’s throat and viciously killed her with his bare hands, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

“This was a brutal murder, made all the more horrible because the defendant was just 15 at the time,” Brown said. “A young woman’s life was senselessly cut short and the defendant, now an adult, will face a lengthy term behind bars when sentenced next month.”

Matinez, whose last known address was on Northern Boulevard in Corona, pleaded guilty last Friday to second-degree murder before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak, who indicated he would sentence the defendant to 14 years to life in prison as a juvenile defender on Jan. 27, 2016.

The Queens District Attorney’ office said Martinez was first arrested as a suspect in the case in 2012.

A spokeswoman said following his arrest, Martinez was remanded without bail to Rikers Island, where he was held when he confessed to the crime last Friday.

Philip Newman contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.