A street astronomer and science popularizer named “Jupiter Joe“Arrested and charged with the murder of a teenager in the Bronx late last year. His lawyer insists he is innocent.
Joe Martinez49 years old, charged with two counts of murder on November 30, 2021 about the 1999 murder of a 13-year-old child Minerliz “Minnie” Soriano. The girl is said to rarely stray far from home. She enjoys writing poetry, reading romance novels, rollerblading, and cycling.
As an A student, Soriano is also quite fond of science and dreams of seeing the stars as an astronaut.
“I used to make fun of her about it,” close friend of victim Kimberly Ortiz recently told Everyone magazine. “I used to say to her, ‘We’re from the Bronx, we’re not going to be astronauts.”
Soriano’s body was discovered in a trash can behind a video rental shop about 2 miles from her home in Pelham Parkway on February 28, 1999. She was last seen four days earlier. Forced to death, her body also showed signs of sexual assault.
Ortiz wished she had walked home from school to her friend on that sad and fateful day — and beat herself up about that walk for a while.
“I carried a lot of guilt with me over the years,” she told the outlet, addressing the chilling future of her friend’s case. “I promised her in front of her coffin that I would find out who did this to her.”
Martinez was a neighbor of the victim and was interviewed by the New York City Police Department around the time of her murder but was never considered a suspect. More than 22 years later, however, the NYPD says that the DNA evidence makes the two murder charges against the astronomer like a protracted open and closed case.
“He was staring 10 miles into the void, like, ‘How did this happen?’ He’s not offended,” said an unnamed NYPD source Talk to New York Daily News in November of last year. “He is not belligerent. He is not belligerent. He didn’t deny it. All the signs of a guilty person. His DNA puts him on the scene – and it’s a wrap. “
The defendant and his attorney begged to differ.
Troy A. Smith says the murder charge against his client “makes no sense” and Martinez “maintains his innocence.”
“The rather unusual case is Mr. Martinez 49 years old; he has no criminal history,” said Smith tell WABC. “It is unusual for a 49-year-old man to have his first contact with a crime at this age. He denies these allegations”.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and attempted murder. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 7, 2022.
Police say they have tracked down the accused using state-of-the-art familial DNA testing technology – using that method to identify an alleged killer in the City that Never Sleeps for the first time. . According to law enforcement, the DNA on Soriano’s sweater is partly a match with Martinez’s deceased father. After collecting DNA evidence from the accused, the match was correct, prosecutors and police charged.
Under his planetary-themed moniker, Martinez regularly posts videos on social media where, seemingly serious and amiable, he will teach New Yorkers — children and adults alike — about space.
“If I can teach a kid something interesting, maybe it will inspire him to become a scientist or an astronomer,” he said in one such video.
At least one relative of the victim wants to ask the suspect: Why?
“I wanted to say to him, ‘Why?'” Her aunt, Amelia Soriano, told CBS affiliated and independent broadcaster WLNY in November 2021. “He threw her in the trash, in the trash like she was trash. She is not trash. She was a human being. “
[images: “Jupiter” Joe Martinez via screenshot/Function; Minerliz Soriano via NYPD]
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/sidewalk-astronomer-maintains-his-innocence-of-cold-case-murder-charges-in-1999-killing-of-13-year-old-nyc-girl/ Did ‘Jupiter Joe’ Kill Miner Soriano in 1999?