Accused Terrytown killer claims masked man’s threats led him to confess to murdering ex-girlfriend _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Jefferson Parish authorities arrested 29-year-old Emilio Calderon in connection with the strangling of Katherine Martinez. Martinez, 23, who was found dead last summer on the kitchen floor of her apartment, She had been stabbed three times but an autopsy found the cause of death was strangling.

Emilio Calderon was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison plus 15 years for stabbing and strangling his pregnant ex-girlfriend to death in her Terrytown apartment last year.

The sentence — the maximum allowed under the law — was handed down by 24th Judicial District Judge Adrian Adams, who ordered that the prison terms be served consecutively. Calderon, convicted of killing Katherine Martinez and her unborn child, will not be eligible for parole, probation or a suspended sentence.

Martinez’s body was found by her mother on the floor of her Terrytown apartment on June 7, 2014. She had been stabbed three times, but the coroner determined the cause of death was strangulation.

Her unborn child was unable to survive and died soon afterward.

Alfredo Pinto, Martinez’s cousin, said the victim’s family was satisfied with the sentence and the fact that Calderon won’t be sent back to his native Honduras.

Calderon, who lived and worked in Lafourche Parish, was found guilty Sept. 24 on a 10-2 jury verdict.

Investigators testified that Calderon, 30, had stalked Martinez online after the two were briefly involved and had become upset that she was pregnant with another man’s child.

Calderon’s DNA was found under Martinez’s fingernails, and a cell tower picked up his cellphone within a mile of her house at the time she was killed.

Investigators told the jury that Calderon’s story changed several times before he confessed to killing Martinez, though even then he said she attacked him first. He later told his defense attorney that a masked man had killed Martinez and forced him to take the fall by threatening his son, who lives in Honduras.

That defense, however, was not heard by jurors because Adams ruled that the testimony that would have been offered by the boy’s mother was inadmissible as hearsay.

Jessica Mullaly, Calderon’s public defender, requested a new trial Wednesday on the grounds that potential exculpatory evidence was not heard, but Adams denied the motion.

Mullaly said Calderon will appeal.

Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.