MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that an Elmont man has been arraigned on grand jury indictment charges for the June 17 murder of his ex-girlfriend at Belmont Racetrack.
Jose Franco-Martinez, 53, was arraigned today before Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti on charges of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I Felony) and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (an A misdemeanor). The defendant was remanded and is due back in court September 5. If convicted of the top count, he faces 25 years to life in prison.
“This defendant allegedly drove from Kansas to brutally murder Maria Larin, his ex-girlfriend, and an innocent mother, as she worked with horses at the Belmont Stakes racetrack,” DA Singas said. “I’m grateful to Belmont staff and security for their quick action to stop and apprehend this alleged killer and my heart goes out to her family as they grieve this unspeakable loss.”
DA Singas said on June 17 Maria Larin was working as a hot walker inside the stall area of Barn 61 at Belmont Racetrack, walking hot horses to help them cool down after racing. As she worked, the defendant approached and allegedly stabbed her multiple times all over her body with a silver kitchen knife. To intervene, 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 and called police. During the chase, Franco-Martinez allegedly threw the knife into the bushes.
Franco-Martinez, who previously worked as a hot walker at Belmont, allegedly become angry with Larin after she ended their romantic relationship. On June 16, he allegedly paid an acquaintance to drive him from Kansas, where he was working, to New York to allegedly murder the victim on June 17.
Senior District Attorney Stefanie Palma of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau is prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Dana Grossblatt, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.