Military jury acquits Martinez of all charges
FORT BRAGG, N.C. In a stunning verdict following a three-and-a-half year legal battle, Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez of Rensselaer County was acquitted of killing two superior officers late today.
In the military courtroom on the sprawling Fort Bragg base, family members erupted in astonishment when they heard Martinez had been acquitted of premeditated murder during the court martial.
"You slaughtered our husbands and that's it!?" Barbara Allen, a widow of one of the victims, screamed at Martinez. "You piece of (expletive). You murdered my husband."
Allen, who was married to 1st Lt. Louis Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa., and Siobhan Esposito, widow of Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, of Suffern, put their heads in their hands and sobbed uncontrollably when they heard the verdict. Esposito and Allen were killed on a military base in Tikrit, Iraq.
Martinez, 41, a National Guardsman from Schaghticoke, showed no emotion as he was escorted out of the courtroom, a free man. He faced the death penalty if convicted.
I don't even know what to say. I don't believe for a second that Alberto Martinez is innocent. But I guess there's nothing left to do but live with the verdict; live with the fact that two good men died, and the guy I believe is responsible for their deaths gets to walk. It's not the first time in human history this has happened, and it sure as hell won't be the last. But it still sucks.