ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Rochester killer challenging his sentence after 20 years loses in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Manuel Enrique Muro-Martinez, now 48-years-old, pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder for the May 1996 slaying of Selina Woitalla. She was found strangled to death in southwest Rochester. Muro-Martinez was initially charged with 1st degree murder but reached a deal with Olmsted County prosecutors in September 2000 to plead guilty to the lesser charge.
Authorities say there was strong DNA evidence putting Muro-Martinez at the scene of Woitalla’s death but no witnesses.
He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, higher than the sentencing guidelines recommendation of 28 years and 10 months. Muro-Martinez filed an appeal in 2012, which was dismissed. He then asked for a sentence correction in 2016.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has now denied that request for post-conviction relief because it was not filed within two years of his original conviction, as required by state law. The Court says Muro-Martinez provided no explanation for why he waited so long.