Albuquerque woman pleads guilty to homicide by vehicle

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Tuesday, Nayali Martinez was sentenced to three years in jail after street racing turned deadly. 

“I am so, so sorry to the victims family and to other people whose lives this has affected,” said Martinez. 

Martinez admitted to street racing to Albuquerque police. A man on a motor scooter was hit and killed. 

“Every day, I wake up wish I could take it back and redo this day so no one’s life was taken,” said Martinez.

On Feb. 16, 2020, Albuquerque police were called to the intersection of Central and Sunset. It started as a hit-and-run, but police say Nayali Martinez returned to the scene. 

Martinez was 18-years-old at the time, and didn’t have a license. She told police at the time she decided to drive anyway, and was racing a friend on Central.

She ended up rear ending Thomas Kellepourey as he was stopped at a light on his motor scooter. Kellepourey died in the hospital.

Fast-forward to this month, and the now 20-year-old Martinez took a plea deal and plead guilty to one count of homicide by vehicle. Under the deal she faced a maximum of four and half years in prison. 

“I believe that she should receive a four and half year sentence for her murdering my uncle and leaving him like a dog to die on the street alone,” said a neice to Thomas Kellepourey. 

In court Tuesday, Kellepourey’s niece and prosecutors both called on the judge to impose the maximum sentence. 

“My uncle wasn’t an important member of this community, but he was special to me,” said Kellepourey’s niece. 

Martinez and her defense asked the judge for probation. 

“I want to apologize for my actions, that have brought us here today,” said Martinez. 

They said she followed the rules of her pretrial release, and had a good future ahead of her with plans to attend UNM, and most of all she was remorseful. 

“I continue to pray that God watches over the victim’s family, and that he takes away their pain that I have caused,” Martinez said. 

The judge said that remorse factored in to his sentence. 

“I see today that you have expressed genuine remorse and I won’t impose the max four and half years, but I instead impose three years to be served in the Department of Corrections,” said the judge.   

He urged Martinez to serve her time, and improve while still keeping her eye on the future. 

“But I don’t want that to define you, and I don’t want that night to define the rest of your life,” the judge said.  

Initially, the judge ordered Martinez to be taken to begin her sentence right away, but after a request from her lawyers he allowed her to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her family.

She’ll have to turn herself in on Friday. 

“If you do not appear to turn yourself in the full six years will be imposed,” said the judge.