SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state Supreme Court upheld a Clovis man’s convictions on Thursday for first-degree murder and raping the victim after she had died. In a precedent-setting decision, the court unanimously concluded that a victim does not need to be alive during the time of rape for a conviction under the law against criminal sexual penetration.
Back in 2017, 54-year-old Lorenzo Martinez fatally stabbed a woman, then moved her body to his bedroom and had sexual intercourse with the body twice. In Martinez’s appeal, he argued that New Mexico law required the rape victim to be alive at the time of the crime for the criminal statute to apply. The high court disagreed.
According to a press release, this is the first time the state’s highest court had addressed the legal issue. The Court noted in its decision that the state currently “does not prohibit the act of necrophilia or abuse of a corpse. Further, ensuring that the law affords due respect and dignity to the dead in cases where the body of a dead person is sexually penetrated or otherwise used for sexual purposes where the perpetrator did not first kill the victim is a responsibility that we invite the legislature to undertake,” the Court wrote.
Martinez was sentenced to life imprisonment, requiring him to serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole. Martinez suffered from schizophrenia, and expert witnesses for the defense and the prosecution disagreed at trial whether he lacked control over his actions due to his illness.
Martinez also argued that his schizophrenia prevented him from forming the “deliberate intent” to commit the killing, which is necessary for first-degree murder. However, the Court determined that there was enough evidence for the jury to find that Martinez possessed the required deliberation.