More than a decade after the body of 28-year-old Melissa Martin was found in a storage shed at the abandoned Porterville Drive-in theater, the man charged with her murder has finally been sentenced to prison.
Raul Facio, from Los Angeles, was a former Porterville resident at the time of Martin's murder. DNA evidence gave Porterville police a break in the 2006 cold case, after Facio was being held in a Los Angeles County jail for unrelated charges.
On Monday morning in Department 19 of the South County Justice Center in Porterville, Judge Antonio Reyes sentenced Facio to a prison term of 25 years-to-life for Martin's murder. Facio, who stood before the judge clad in all white, seemed unsurprised and unphased by the the length of the sentence and didn't say much in court. He did however, listen intently as a close family friend spoke of how the crime has shaken up the family, especially Martin's mother.
“(Her mother) had lost all hopes and respect for the system,” said Mike Bush, the close family friend. “I cannot fathom being a parent and having this happen. I know California doesn't believe in the death penalty, but that is what we want How would (Facio) feel if his child were brutally murdered? It is unforsaken. We forgive you for this crime, but we will never forget. Melissa can finally be at rest.”
Bush thanked the court and the District Attorney's office for the hours of time they spent on the case, and for bringing some justice to the Martin family. As he stepped away from the stand, tears rolled down his cheeks.
Ultimately, Facio was sentenced to the 25 years-to-life sentence in state prison, and is required to remain on parole for the remainder of his life. He's not allowed to own any fire arms or ammo, and is required to pay a heavy restitution fine of more tha $20,000 of which $6,131.62 will be paid to CalVCB (Victims Compensation Board) for any future services the Martin family may need. He's to be transported to a corrections facility, and then shipped to prison where he will begin his term. He has a total of 1,043 credits for time served.