Jose Franco-Martinez of Elmont sentenced to 25-to-life for murdering ex-girlfriend at Belmont Park


The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office announced Jose Franco-Martinez, 58, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for stabbing his ex-girlfriend over 20 times while she tended horses at the Belmont Park racetrack in 2018.

Franco-Martinez was convicted of second-degree murder on April 4, 2023. District Attorney Anne Donnelly said he was motivated by jealousy over his ex-girlfriend, Maria Larin, seeing someone new and had an acquaintance drive him from Kansas to New York to murder her.

He had an acquaintance drive him from Kansas to New York to murder Larin.

“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 Donnelly. “Franco-Martinez brutally stabbed and slashed Maria Larin more than 20 times before he was restrained by staff at the racetrack.

Larin was working on June 17, 2018 as a hot walker inside the stall area of Barn 61 at Belmont Racetrack, walking horses to help them cool down after racing.

As she worked, Franco-Martinez approached and stabbed her multiple times with a silver kitchen knife. Larin’s co-worker, who witnessed the incident, picked up a shovel and hit Franco-Martinez in the head, but he still managed to run away.

After a brief chase, security staff from the New York Racing Association apprehended him. During the chase, Franco-Martinez threw the knife into some bushes.

Franco-Martinez, who previously worked as a hot walker at Belmont, became angry with Larin after she ended their romantic relationship. On June 15, 2018, he paid an acquaintance to drive him from Kansas, where he was working, to New York to murder Larin.

“We continue to keep the Larin family in our thoughts as this defendant is brought to justice for his horrific crime,” Donnelly said.