Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 7, 2013

Life in Prison

Man convicted of murder, rape in 2002 death

VALDOSTA — A Florida man received a life plus 20 year sentence Wednesday in Lowndes County Superior Court for the rape and murder of a Kentucky woman who had stopped to rest in Lake Park on Halloween 2002.

It took roughly five years for investigators to obtain a DNA sample from 42-year-old Maurilio Masadiego Martinez, an immigrant who had been living in Lake Park under an assumed named with few identifying documents, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s detectives determined that DNA collected from Martinez matched evidence collected by the sheriff’s office during its probe into the death of 47-year-old Joy Morris, according to reports.

In 2009, Martinez was found to be living in Casselberry, Fla., and had been arrested there for offenses unrelated to this investigation, according to reports. In 2010, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Casselberry Police Department led a joint inquiry into Morris’ death.

An arrest warrant was obtained for Martinez for the offenses of murder and rape, based on information gleaned from the joint investigation and the match in DNA samples, according to reports. Martinez was charged in the death on Feb. 8, 2010, and returned to Lowndes County.

Morris’ body was discovered on Friday Nov. 1, 2002, inside her vehicle, which was parked in a wooded area near a motel in the 6900 block of Lake Park’s Lake Park-Bellville Road, according to reports.

Morris, a Madisonville, Ky., native and escort driver, had just completed a business trip to West Palm Beach, Fla., and was headed north on the intersate to drive escort for a truck in Lowndes County, according to a 2010 report by The Times.

An investigation revealed that Morris was raped and strangled, according to reports, and court evidence indicated that the antenna wire from a cell-phone had been wrapped around Morris’ neck at least three times.

Martinez was found guilty Wednesday of both murder and rape after nearly an hour of jury deliberations. After the guilty verdicts were returned, Southern Circuit Judge James G. Tunison II sentenced Martinez to a life sentence plus 20 years, according to reports.

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine said he hoped the verdict may provide some closure to the family and he praised the cooperative efforts of the Valdosta Police Department, the Casselberry, Fla. Police Department, the Seminole County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office, and the office of Southern District Attorney J. David Miller.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

  • VSU opens spring senior art show Saturday

    Several graduating art seniors will present their show this weekend at Valdosta State University.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • vsuopera1dido.jpg Operatic Conclusion

    When the curtain lowers this weekend on Valdosta State University Opera’s performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” it will not only mark the end of the music group’s season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘If I Were Mayor’ contest essays

    If I were mayor, I would do all that I possibly can to make the city of Valdosta marvelous, but I cannot do it on my own. Some things in Valdosta I feel it is necessary to focus on would be our literacy rate, unemployment rate, crime history, and our environment.

    April 16, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marath_Stew.jpg Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results