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Posted on: April 5, 2023

Elmont Man Convicted of Murder for Stabbing Woman to Death at Belmont Racetrack

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Jose Franco-Martinez drove from Kansas to stab his ex-girlfriend multiple times as she tended to horses

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that an Elmont man has been convicted for the June 17, 2018, murder of his ex-girlfriend at Belmont Racetrack. 

Jose Franco-Martinez, 58, was convicted yesterday after a jury trial of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I Felony). The defendant is due back for sentencing before Judge Helene Gugerty on May 19, 2023. He faces a potential maximum of 25 years to life in prison. 

“This defendant drove more than 1,000 miles across the country to murder his ex-girlfriend after he began to suspect that she was seeing another man. Without warning, on Father’s Day morning in 2018, he showed up to the Belmont Racetrack where she worked, waited for her to appear, and without uttering a single word, viciously attacked her with a knife. He stabbed and cut her 23 times as her co-workers ran over to try and save her life,” DA Donnelly said. “Thankfully staff at Belmont responded quickly and apprehended this defendant before he could flee. Our prayers are with the Larin family as they mourn this completely senseless loss.”

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, 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 the defendant and called police. 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 16, 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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