CHESTER — Alberto B. Martinez, the New York Army National Guard staff sergeant acquitted of murdering two superiors, including Chester native and Milford, Pa., resident First Lt. Louis E. Allen, has died.
An obituary published online in a Florida newspaper where Sgt. Martinez was living revealed he died on Jan. 22, 2017, at age 49. An official cause of death was not released.
Allen's widow, Barbara Allen, confirmed Martinez’s death.
“I find it ironic that he surely would have lived longer had he been convicted or even sentenced to death, as the military does not actually follow through on death sentences, anyway,” Allen said. “I hope his children overcome their father's legacy of evil and destruction, and I hope all of our families can begin to heal now that Fate has held him accountable far more than the military ever did.”
Martinez was found not guilty in 2008 by a military jury on two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of Lt. Allen and Capt. Phillip T. Esposito of Suffern. The two officers were killed in June 2005 after an explosion occurred in a window of their room at a United States military base in Tikrit, Iraq, an explosion prosecutors accused Martinez of causing.
If convicted, Sgt. Martinez could have faced the death penalty. He was the first soldier from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to be accused of “fragging,” the military term for deliberately killing or attempting to kill a fellow soldier, usually a superior officer.
Lt. Allen, 34, had graduated from Chester Academy in 1988, taught science at John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen and then at George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo, where he coached softball and soccer. He was a married father of four sons.
Capt. Esposito was a West Point graduate and a married father of a young daughter.
In a Jan. 26 blog post, Capt. Esposito’s widow Siobhan Esposito wrote, “Martinez was the man who murdered and got away with it. Should the Army also get away with it? Should it not be judged for its errors and be made to reform itself accordingly?”
A scholarship has been set up in Lt. Allen’s name at Chester Academy, the Chester post office is named after him, and the Lou Allen Memorial Softball Tournament is held annually at the Chester Academy.
Barbara Allen wrote about her story in her book “Front Toward Enemy” and is co-founder of American Snippets, an online magazine that features inspiring American stories. She is also a national speaker and veteran’s advocate, continuing to fight to secure the Purple Heart Award for her husband.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to provide the correct location of the Lou Allen Memorial Softball Tournament, which was in error in the original article. The tournament has been an annual event since 2006 and since 2008 has been held at Chester. The tournament is currently coordinated by the Chester School District and is tentatively scheduled for either May 8, 15, or 29, 2017, pending weather and team availability. For more information about the tournament, please contact the Athletic Director, Rolando Aguilar, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chronicle regrets the error.