Miguel Martinez guilty in slaying of UTSA graduate student

Laura Carter shot to death in botched heroin deal in 2015

SAN ANTONIO – A jury took just over three hours Friday to find a 30-year-old man guilty of fatally shooting a UTSA graduate student during a botched heroin deal.

Miguel Martinez killed Laura Carter, 33, on Jan. 11, 2015, after luring her to a South Side neighborhood for what she thought was a meeting to set up a drug-dealing partnership, prosecutors said during closing arguments.

"Miguel Martinez got her there with the promise that there was gonna be somebody that would arrive, and there would be an exchange of money for heroin," prosecutor Jason Goss told the jury.

Prior to the meeting, Martinez had convinced Carter to withdraw $7,000 from her college savings fund to invest in the "business," Goss said.

Martinez shot Carter five times in the head, Goss said.

But defense attorney Joel Perez argued that the investigation into the slaying "was shoddy and compromised from the very beginning. They didn't go search his house to check if the $7,000 was there. And there were no fingerprints taken from her car and there was no DNA evidence."

Martinez's first trial ended in a mistrial in 2017 and generated a firestorm of controversy. 

The trial led to a feud between Nicholas "Nico" LaHood, who was the Bexar County district attorney at the time, and Martinez's attorney, Joe Gonzales.

Gonzales has since been elected district attorney, defeating LaHood in the 2018 March Democratic Primary and then defeating his Republican opponent, Tylden Shaeffer, in the November 2018 general election.

The punishment phase in Martinez's trial is set to begin Monday. He could face a maximum punishment of life in prison.

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