OCEANSIDE — Joaquin Martinez was the self-proclaimed “problem solver” for all issues in an Oceanside “meth” house, which included dismembering an overdosed roommate to keep the police from investigating her death, the 32-year-old defendant testified recently.
In hindsight, Martinez may have locked the door to his own cell by admitting his troubleshooting techniques, which included rallying his housemates to rob banks and “tax” local drug dealers with him for rent and drug money.
On May 10, after approximately one full day of deliberations, a North County jury found Martinez guilty of the first-degree murder of his roommate and one-time girlfriend, Janina Hardoy. The young woman described as a “free spirit” by her family disappeared Feb. 2, 2005. Her body was never found; however, a backpack containing her hands and feet was found in a Vista dumpster in the 700 block of East Vista Way by authorities through a tip from one of the roommates.
Deputy District Attorney Geoff Allard alleged Martinez murdered the Northern California native because she threatened to report her housemates’ North County bank robberies to authorities. The prosecutor pointed to a statement Martinez made the night before Hardoy’s disappearance, in which he referenced her death, and his admission of the murder to another gang member while in jail as proof Martinez played a vital role in the young woman’s death.
Following the verdict, the 10th juror, whose name has been withheld at her request, said it only made sense that Martinez, who admitted to dismembering Hardoy’s body to protect the other roommates from law enforcement, played a part in the young woman’s death. He was the “common thread” to everything going on in that house, the juror said.
Martinez testified he had injected Hardoy, at her request, with heroin Feb. 1, 2005, in her bedroom at their rented residence on East Parker Street, which they shared with a handful of other drug addicts. He said he then left the house and when he returned a couple of days later he found the girl dead in her bedroom. A member of the Mexican Mafia and a Vista street gang, Martinez testified he “asked” three of his roommates — Jason Cooper, Lisa Brown and Liko Hussey — to help him dispose of Hardoy’s body.
Martinez explained calmly about how after he and Cooper dismembered her they took further steps to attempt to dispose of the body. Then Martinez, with the aid of Cooper and Brown, who the defendant was dating at the time of Hardoy’s death, ditched the body in an Escondido dumpster he said.
Martinez then tasked Hussey with burning the backpack that contained the victim’s body parts; however, that act was never fully accomplished.
Hussey, along with three other roommates — Brown, Cooper and Wendy Villasenor — pleaded guilty to one count each of being an accessory after the fact.
Martinez admitted he disliked “rats” so much so that he wouldn’t hesitate killing such a person, though he denied murdering Hardoy for being a potential snitch saying he didn’t believe she would inform authorities about the robberies. He said the victim was like a “Chihuahua,” always yapping but never a threat.
The jurors were not the only ones who heard Martinez’s testimony. Hardoy’s family members, including her father and stepmother, were in the Vista courtroom for the gang member’s testimony and conviction.
“The callousness of the way he spoke about the act told me he didn’t have a soul,” said the victim’s stepmother, Katy Hardoy, following the guilty verdict.
She said Martinez contradicted himself on the stand about how he would react to an overdosed friend or roommate. While he told jurors that he would just roll the person out into the street, he claims he had to dismember her stepdaughter to cover up the girl’s overdose, Katy Hardoy said, adding that she believes the contradiction shows her daughter was murdered and didn’t die from an accidental overdose.
Janina’s father, Al Hardoy, who was the first witness to testify at the two-week trial, said it was “surreal” to hear all the details about his daughter’s case. After his testimony, Al Hardoy sat through the entire trial. Both he and his wife said they were happy that their daughter’s killer is going to be behind bars and off the streets.
Martinez faces 27 years to life in prison, Allard said. His sentencing date will be set following a hearing on May 13 to verify his prior prison convictions, one of which is related to the string of bank robberies he pulled while living with Hardoy.
“I feel that Janina got justice,” Katy Hardoy said.