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Posted on: June 28, 2023

Elmont Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Stabbing Death of Woman at Belmont Racetrack

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Jose Franco-Martinez stabbed his ex-girlfriend multiple times, killing her, as she tended to horses

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that an Elmont man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the June 2018 murder of his ex-girlfriend at Belmont Racetrack. 

Jose Franco-Martinez, 58, was convicted on April 4, 2023, after a jury trial of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I Felony). The defendant was sentenced Tuesday before Judge Helene Gugerty to 25 years to life in prison.

“Enraged by the thought of his ex-girlfriend seeing another man, this defendant drove halfway across the country to murder her at Belmont Racetrack where she worked,” said DA Donnelly. “Franco-Martinez brutally stabbed and slashed Maria Larin more than 20 times before he was restrained by staff at the racetrack. We continue to keep the Larin family in our thoughts as this defendant is brought to justice for his horrific crime.”

DA Donnelly said that on June 17, 2018, Maria Larin was working as a hot walker inside the stall area of Barn 61 at Belmont Racetrack, walking horses to help them cool down after racing. As she worked, the defendant approached and stabbed her multiple times all over her body with a silver kitchen knife. Larin’s co-worker, who saw the incident happen, picked up a shovel and hit the defendant in the head with it, but the defendant still managed to run away. 

After a brief chase, security staff from the New York Racing Association apprehended him. During the chase, Franco-Martinez threw the knife into some bushes.

Franco-Martinez, who previously worked as a hot walker at Belmont, become angry with Larin after she ended their romantic relationship. On June 15, 2018, he paid an acquaintance to drive him from Kansas, where he was working, to New York to murder the victim the following day.

Senior Litigation Counsel Tracy Keeton of the Homicide Bureau is prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Joseph LoPiccolo, Esq.

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