Apr 21, 2009 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Residents of the Plymouth Meeting apartment complex in Clay were shocked by last weekend’s news that their neighbor, Alex D. Martinez, had admitted murdering his wife, Angela Harris, on Saturday morning at their apartment, No. 24, at 5 Grampian Road.
The complex is located just east of Route 57, south of John Glenn Boulevard and west of Morgan Road.
State Police said that Martinez, 22, walked into the Beacon Police Department about 7 a.m. Sunday and — with his 6-month-old son in his arms — told the desk officer he had killed his 21-year-old wife Saturday at their residence and then tried to sink the body in a downstate reservoir.
“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” said Renee Coppernoll, who has lived for eight years at the Plymouth Meeting apartments.
Martinez described slamming his wife’s head into a wall at their apartment and choking her until she died, according to authorities. The assault allegedly took place shortly before noon April 18. At about 10 p.m., Martinez packed the body in black plastic bags and carried it inside a collapsible playpen to the bed of his pickup truck parked at the apartment complex.
Then he and his infant son, Draven, drove with six pet puppies to Dutchess County, some 220 miles southeast of Syracuse, where — at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday — Martinez attempted to sink the corpse in the Beacon Reservoir in the town of Fishkill.
Both Martinez and Harris were former residents of Beacon. The couple was married Feb. 21, at the Liverpool First United Methodist Church after relocating here to be close to Harris’ mother. Neither husband nor wife were presently employed. The Plymouth Meeting apartments Web site lists rents ranging from $617 to $745 per month.
At a press conference Monday morning in Syracuse, State Police Capt. Mark Lincoln said Martinez’s effort to weigh down his wife’s body with bags of cement “didn’t go as planned. He also attempted to burn some of her belongings near the reservoir. At some point, it appears he realized the futility of his actions.”
Though police have declined to cite a motive for the killing, Lincoln said investigators had uncovered a domestic confrontation which took place in Fishkill in September 2007. At that time, however, both Martinez and Harris refused to give statements or press charges, Lincoln said.
Since the body was recovered Sunday from the reservoir, police have been interviewing friends, family members and neighbors of the couple, including two local men who helped Martinez load the body onto his truck.
“We believe them to be unwitting accomplices,” said Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. “They saw him struggling and appeared to have been assisting him and literally did not know what they were loading into his vehicle.”
At Monday’s press conference authorities indicated that Harris bought plastic bags and cement prior to the murder. Investigators have recovered receipts for the purchase of those items from Wegmans and Home Depot.
After being arraigned Sunday night by Clay Town Justice Christopher Glaiser, Martinez is being held without bail in the Onondaga County Justice Center. Glaiser assigned defense attorney Thomas Ryan to represent the accused.
Martinez is due back in Clay Town Court at 2 p.m. Friday.
The couple’s son is now staying with his maternal grandparents.
Harris’ autopsy was being conducted Monday by the Dutchess County Medical Examiner’s office.
Anyone with information about the case should contact the State Police at 366-6000.