The killer, a 39-year-old Nampa man, will have to serve 20 years before he is eligible for parole.
Alfredo Martinez looked into the standing-room audience Monday in a Caldwell courtroom and apologized to murder victim Selena Thomas’ family and friends, and to his parents and other relatives.
“I’m sorry. I apologize, and I know it’s not enough,” Martinez said at his sentencing hearing at the Canyon County Courthouse. “I see the hurt, the anger, the sadness, not just on one side of the courtroom but on both sides. It’s because of my actions.”
He also apologized to Thomas’ teenage son. “I know how much you loved your mom and how much she loved you,” Martinez said.
Martinez beat Thomas, 36, to death with a hammer last Aug. 15 in the home they shared in west Nampa. When she fought back, he pushed her into a dresser, where she struck her head. He put her body in a closet for two days, and then recruited three friends to help bury it in a cornfield near Melba.
Later that day, Thomas’ co-workers went to her home in the 1400 block of Acapulco Way near Middleton Road to look for her. They found her white Monte Carlo in the driveway with the keys in the ignition and her purse on the passenger seat. Thomas’ mother, Lori Moon, called police.
Martinez agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in a plea arrangement.
Moon wore a white T-shirt with a photo of her daughter and the words “Selena’s wings.” With a second photo of her daughter pinned to her shirt, Moon said she thinks daily about her daughter and the way she died.
“I have lost my best friend, my jokester, my glamour beauty girl,” Moon said in addressing Third District Judge Molly Huskey.
“Could she have still been here if Alfredo had called 911 instead of standing over her, watching her die?” Moon said.
Defense attorney Kimberly Simmons said she believes Martinez can “still be a productive member of society” if the parole board decides to release him after 20 years.
Martinez grew up watching his father beat up his mother on numerous occasions, Simmons said. “He protected his mother against the violence of his father,” Simmons said.
Huskey said Thomas’ death shows the tragic consequences of family violence. “This is what you get when children grow up viewing domestic abuse,” she said.
Huskey, who was appointed earlier this month to a seat on the Idaho Court of Appeals, told both families to try to put Thomas’ murder and their sadness behind them. “You will never have peace, otherwise,” she said.
She also told Thomas’ son not to allow the death of his mother to cloud his future. “Do not let this control your life,” she said.
Cases against Martinez’s accomplices continue. Jose Cruz Flores, Martinez’s nephew, pleaded guilty earlier this month to felony destruction of evidence and failure to report a death. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 14.
Two other defendants are charged with the same crimes:
• Jorge Luis Garcia, of Nampa, is accused of helping Martinez remove Thomas’ body from her house and place it in the car. Garcia has also pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 14.
• Daniel Francisco Sena is accused of driving Thomas’ car back to her home after the body was buried. Sena, also of Nampa, has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial Aug. 25.