An Elmont man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend at Belmont Racetrack.
On June 17, 2018, Maria Laurin, was working inside the stall area of Barn 61 at Belmont Racetrack, where she was walking horses to help them cool down after racing. While working, Jose Franco-Martinez, 58, approached her and proceeded to stab her multiple times with a silver kitchen knife. Laurin’s co-workers observed the incident and hit Franco-Martinez in the head with a shovel before he ran away. Franco-Martinez had previously worked with Laurin at the racetrack, and became angry when she decided to end their romantic relationship. Two days before, on June 15, he paid an acquaintance to drive him from his workplace in Kansas to New York in order to murder Laurin. Franco-Martinez was chased by security staff from the New York Racing Association before being apprehended. Franco-Martinez discarded the knife by throwing it into a bush during the chase.
Franco-Martinez was convicted on April 4, 2023 of second-degree murder after a jury trial. He was sentenced on June 28 to 25 years to life in prison before Judge Helene Gugerty.
“Enraged by the thought of his ex-girlfriend seeing another man, this defendant drove halfway across the country to murder her at Belmont Racetrack where she worked,” said Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly. “Franco-Martinez brutally stabbed and slashed Maria Laurin more than 20 times before he was restrained by staff at the racetrack. We continue to keep the Laurin family in our thoughts as this defendant is brought to justice for his horrific crime.”