BROOKLYN, NY — Phillip Martin, 43, appeared in court on Wednesday to receive his sentencing for killing 43-year-old Diana Rodriguez-Martin on or around January 14, 2017.
When Rodriguez-Martin first went missing in January 2017, her family said that they immediately suspected her husband, who had a history of being abusive to her. Martin told her family that his wife had moved out, taking the dog with her.
After an official missing persons report was made for Rodriguez-Martin, investigators noticed that Martin was using her credit cards in her absence. When questioned by police, Martin confessed to beating his wife to death.
For the next week after her murder, he had lived with the body in their apartment while it decomposed. Then, he cut corpse into pieces with a saw and a hammer and packaged them in garbage bags. He then removed the body parts from their Prospect-Lefferts Gardens area home using a laundry cart. He says he dumped the rest of the remains in trash cans on the street — but no part of Rodriguez-Martin’s body was ever found.
Police originally charged Martin with second-degree murder and concealment of a human corpse. After taking a plea deal, Martin pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. According to law enforcement, the fact that the victim’s body was never recovered would have made a murder case difficult, which is why the plea deal was possible.
The lack of remains continues to haunt the family, who live with so many disturbing and visceral memories of their loved one’s demise. “I can never pass a garbage bag without wondering if Diana’s body or someone else’s is in there,” Alba Reyes, Rodriguez-Martin’s aunt, said. Her sister, Valerie Reyes-Jimenez, says, “I can’t even cut up a whole chicken without thinking of Diana and hearing the bones crunch.”
PIX11 reports that the couple, who had been married for 11 years, had a history of domestic violence, and that police had been called to the home in the past. Both husband and wife had each been arrested twice in domestic violence incidents.
Family members of Rodriguez-Martin referred to Martin as a “monster” in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Monday, and remembered her as a kind woman who loved fashion.
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Main photo: Diana Rodriguez-Martin [Police handout]