Judge upholds Warwick man’s domestic murder conviction

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend in a fit of jealous rage will remain behind bars.

A Superior Court judge on Thursday rejected an appeal from Gerardo Martinez, who’s serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2005 murder of Lindsay Ann Burke, 23.

The tragic case ultimately helped shine a spotlight on dating violence in Rhode Island.

Burke’s family created a nonprofit in her honor. On the website it says they believe she would want them to do whatever it takes to educate others and prevent further tragedies.

Burke’s mother wasn’t going to let her daughter’s story end there.

“I fully intend to continue in an advocacy role, and I’m hoping the Lindsay Ann Burke Act will get passed this year,” Ann Burke said.

And it did pass. The legislation requires all middle and high schools in the state to educate students about dating violence, from the signs to who to talk to about it.

Domestic Violence: The signs and how to get help »

“I think this particular case galvanized the community in particular that enough is enough,” RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Deborah DeBare said Friday.

Martinez argued that his attorney did not represent him appropriately during the trial.

A Superior Court judge didn’t agree, upholding Martinez’s conviction on Thursday.

“We’re relieved to see that justice has been served here,” DeBare added.

Even though they’ve come a long way, domestic violence prevention advocates say they hope to see more resources available in schools, as well as more people speaking up.

Burke’s story went beyond Rhode Island. Since 2007, more than 20 states have passed similar legislation.