42-year-old Maurilio Martinez has been found guilty for the 11-year-old murder of Joy Morris from 2002 in Lowndes County.
Officers say that in November 2002, Morris was found dead in her vehicle as a result of strangulation in Lake Park.
Investigators with the Sheriff's Office conducted a number of interviews but developed few leads until 2007 when a potential match to a DNA sample was obtained. Detectives with the Valdosta Police Department had obtained a sample from Maurilio Martinez which when tested was found to be a match to DNA collected during the Sheriff's Office investigation. During additional investigative efforts, investigators learned that Maurilio Martinez was a migrant worker and had previously worked in the Lake Park area. In late 2009 Maurilio Martinez was found to be living in Casselberry, Florida and had been arrested there for offenses unrelated to this investigation. In early 2010 investigators from the Sheriff's Office worked closely with detectives from the Casselberry Police Department conducting interviews and collecting evidence. Based on information learned during those efforts and the match in DNA samples an arrest warrant was obtained for Maurilio Martinez for the offenses of murder and rape. Maurilio Martinez was arrested in February 2010 and returned to Lowndes County.
Officials say that the jury only took 55 minutes of deliberations to find Martinez guilty on both murder and rape charges with a life sentence plus 25 years handed down.
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