MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — An ex-con who robbed women with an ice pick in front of their children in Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town shaved two years off his sentence in a plea deal by returning an engagement ring from one of the victims.
The convinced felon, 40-year-old John Martinez, pleaded guilty Thursday to holding up three women in November and December last year at the East Side apartment complexes. He took jewelry and money from the women and tried to rob a fourth victim, he admitted Thursday.
From the victims he received about $780 cash and two diamond rings, one of which was an engagement ring he returned to the victim on Wednesday in exchange for a shorter sentence by two years.
Martinez committed the crimes after his release from a decade-long prison term he served for a previous violent robbery.
He is expected to be sentenced to 18 years to life in prison on Dec. 13, down from 20 years to life he originally faced under the deal.
"I would confess but I have to be certain I'm going to get the help I need," Martinez told police in Bergen County, NJ, when he was arrested on Dec. 5, 2010.
Prosecutors say he ruthlessly targeted victims in their homes in Manhattan and Co-Op City in the Bronx.
“This defendant threatened safety and security of women and children in their own apartment buildings,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement. “With this guilty plea, a dangerous criminal will be kept out of our neighborhoods.”
Martinez pleaded guilty to burglary in the second degree and attempted robbery in the first degree but will receive a hefty sentence because of his lengthy criminal history.
He also has pending robbery cases in the Bronx, where he allegedly followed two women, ages 43 and 50, onto apartment building elevators and demanded cash and property.