Murder victim's family to killer: 'You destroyed what we had'

Julian Martinez, 19, sentenced to 30 years for shooting Amanda Acosta

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SAN ANTONIO – Facing the man who shot and killed her niece, Amanda Acosta's aunt said the teen had been counting down the days to her birthday before she died.

"Excited to turn 18, which she'll never see because you took that," Susie Martinez told convicted killer Julian Martinez, 19.

"Our lives will never be the same. You destroyed what we had," Susie Martinez said.

As he left the courtroom Friday afternoon, it was Julian Martinez's turn to count down a 30-year sentence for Acosta's murder.

Julian Martinez was 18 last March when he shot a bullet through the car Acosta was riding in. Prosecutors said he had fought with someone else inside the vehicle earlier at a party and suggested the fatal shot was not meant for Acosta.

While Acosta's family said they were "OK" with the sentence, Assistant Criminal District Attorney Jason Goss said the prosecution had asked for at least 60 years behind bars.

Regardless, he said justice was "absolutely" served.

"(The family) did get justice today, and the community has spoken," Goss said. "And Mr. Martinez will be gone for a long time."

Julian Martinez may not be gone the full term of his sentence, though. He will be credited the time he spent in the Bexar County Jail, and Goss said he will be eligible for parole after 15 years.

Acosta's family will be waiting.

"We as a family will be there to make sure that you don't come out to do this to somebody else's special family members," Susie Martinez told Julian Martinez.

"It's one thing that's going to bother us," Acosta's sister, Gabrielle Nunez said as she left the court. "But for now, we're OK with the sentencing. It's fair."

Nunez does think her sister would see things differently.

"She would feel that amount of time is not that much time," Nunez said.

No matter how many years Julian Martinez spends behind bars, it will never match up with the years Acosta's family will spend without her.

"She sits at a grave site to talk to her daughter," Susie Martinez said while standing next to Acosta's mother. "She can't pick up a phone. She can't write her a letter and she can't touch her. You did this."

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