BEEVILLE - The life lessons Julian Martinez learned came too late to save the life of the teenage girl he killed in March 2015.
"I chose the wrong path and this is where it led me," Martinez said. "I should have got a real job and took care of my family."
Martinez was convicted of murder in June and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He agreed to his first prison interview with KENS 5. The interview happened at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Garza-West facility in Beeville. The only restrictions for the Martinez one-on-one was it had to be non-contact (behind the glass and over a prison phone) and a 60-minute time limit.
"Prison is pretty good. All you have to do is mind your own business and worry about yourself," he said.
The 19-year-old said his experience from murder arrest to murder conviction has taught him he has no friends. More importantly, he realized how the wrong decision can impact lives.
"Think you're this macho man, but you'll end up in prison or dead," he said.
Martinez remembers living life with no regrets as a gang member. In fact, if he could pass on advice to the formerly-free Julian Martinez, he'd slap himself on the head and say 'sit down.'
"You're going to end being hurt," Martinez said. "You're going to end up in a lot of trouble. So just sit down somewhere."
Unfortunately, the situation did not work out that way for Amanda Acosta. She was shot leaving a party in the 200 block of Cavalier two years ago. According to an arrest warrant, Martinez knocked out Raven Moreno who was at the party with Acosta. The 17-year-old wasn't Martinez's target. It's believed Martinez was trying to shoot Moreno. Acosta was shot in the back. Her friends rushed her to the hospital where she died.
Martinez, who has been adamant about his innocence in previous interviews with KENS 5, now says the night was a blur.
"I was off (on) a lot of liquor, a lot of cocaine and marijuana," he said. Like I tell everybody I don't remember what happened. All I remember is me and Raven fought and everything just went blur."
Marvin: And, you're saying that you do not remember firing a gun?
Martinez: Yes sir.
Marvin: But, you could have fired a gun because you don't remember?
Marvin: Then it is possible that you could have shot Amanda?
Martinez: Possibly. Like I said, I have a strong feeling that I didn't
The convicted murderer said he thought his version of what happened the night Acosta was killed would hold up in court. But, Martinez said the Bexar County District Attorney's Office won jurors over by making him look like a threat to society.
"So that's what got me found guilty," He said. "Not really evidence."
When the verdict came back guilty, Martinez said it felt surreal.
"I didn't have no feelings. I didn't have no expression," He recalled. "The only thing I could do is look at my mom while she cried. I just felt like my soul floated out."
Marvin-How do you feel about the title Julian Martinez convicted murderer?
Martinez: Can't believe it. I don't see it as that being me. And, I look at myself in the mirror and ask myself if I'm a murderer and it doesn't fit. I'm not a murderer. That's not my title.
Unless he successfully appeals his murder conviction, the law says Martinez is a murderer. At 33 years old, he will be up for parole. Acosta, unfortunately, does not get another chance at life.
Marvin: What do you think when you hear the name Amanda Acosta?
Martinez: I don't know how to answer that.
Marvin: Does it torture you? Do you feel sorry? Do you feel remorse?
Martinez: It makes me do feel remorse that she's dead period. You know...regardless of who did kill her. It makes me feel bad that she is dead and that her mom is never going to get her back. It's a sad story you know. But, I just wish that they would look into it more and probably find every detail and find out who really did kill her. And not just pin it on me cuz I'm at the party and I got into a fight with Raven. I'm a bad kid with guns you know.
The Martinez interview concluded with him waving goodbye. As a corrections officer took our microphone off of him, Martinez asked "Why is it always about the girl?"
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