Leadville woman who drove over her boyfriend convicted of murder
Jury rejected Maria Day’s claim that the transmission stuck
John Alexander Martinez and Maria Day were on their way home from shopping in Leadville on July 8, 2015, when Martinez climbed out of the car. When he did, prosecutors say Day intentionally ran over Martinez and killed him with the Lexus she was driving.
Day was convicted last week of second-degree murder after a two-week trial.
Besides Day, 49, the only other witness to the crime was Day’s mother, who suffers from dementia.
Day left Martinez to die along the roadside. People driving by saw Martinez lying there and presumed he was passed out, prosecutors said.
He wasn’t. Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi convinced the jury that Day had intentionally run over Martinez after he had gotten out of the car, leaving tire tracks on his pants.
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First responders found Martinez near a concrete wall that abutted the roadway. He died hours later of severe wounds over his entire body.
One hour after running over Martinez and leaving him to die, Day called 911 to report the incident, feigning remorse for hitting “someone,” prosecutors said. In the call, Day did not name Martinez, or describe how the accident occurred on Leadville’s James Street.
However, surveillance video from a nearby home belonging to Day’s sister showed Day fleeing the immediate area where Martinez lay. Day dropped off her mother, then tried to buff away damage to her right front bumper left by the incident, prosecutors said. The video did not depict the actual homicidal act.
Leadville Police arrested Day near the accident site shortly after they arrived.
Jury didn’t buy her story
During the trial, the jury rejected Day’s assertion that, as she dropped off Martinez, the transmission in her Lexus stuck. She said that is what caused her to accelerate and run him over.
Prosecutors presented evidence that the make and model of Lexus that Day was driving had no history of transmission trouble. Prosecutors even called the car’s previous owner as a witness, who testified that when the car was sold a year earlier, the transmission was in good working order. Accident reconstruction experts also testified that the transmission was working fine.
“After an extraordinarily long wait to obtain justice, the family and friends of John Martinez finally are able to have a conclusive judgment that Defendant Day set out to kill and accomplished her goal,” District Attorney Bruce Brown said. “Intimate partner violence is endemic in our society, but acts like this are rare. Nonetheless, an abuser who goes untreated can become a killer like Maria Day. We mourn the loss of another victim.”
In 2018, Colorado had at least 37 incidents where domestic violence resulted in a fatality and 43 people died as a result of these incidents, according to the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board’s annual report.
Enough jurors could not be found to hold the trial in Leadville where Day and Martinez lived, so it was moved to Georgetown.
Day will remain in custody until she is sentenced to state prison by District Court Judge Catherine Cheroutes. Day faces between eight and 24 years in prison.