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(NEW YORK) — Angelo Colon-Ortiz pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder and unarmed robbery charges in connection with the 2016 killing of Vanessa Marcotte, a Google employee in New York City who was killed while jogging near her mother’s home in Princeton, Massachusetts.
Colon-Ortiz, who was arrested in 2017, was sentenced to life in prison.
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early said the Marcotte family asked prosecutors to accept the plea to spare them from listening to the details of Vanessa’s death during a trial.
“We know nothing can bring Vanessa back, but we know, through the meticulous work of the prosecutors and investigators involved, justice will be served, and the plea allows Vanessa’s family to move on from this tragedy,” Early said in a statement.
The Marcotte family issued a statement thanking prosecutors and remembering Vanessa.
“We are thankful and gratified the legal process has accomplished what we always wished for, that this man will now be in a place where he can’t hurt anyone else like the way he hurt Vanessa,” the Marcotte family said. “To honor and remember Vanessa, we will continue to educate and protect women through the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation.”
The foundation trains women in self-defense and teaches women and girls about jogger safety, violence prevention and healthy relationships.
Marcotte, 27, had worked for Google in New York City. She was visiting family in Massachusetts in August 2016 when she went out for a jog on the afternoon of Aug. 7, 2016, and was reported missing after she did not return to her family’s home. Marcotte’s body was discovered in the woods not far from her family’s home later that evening.
Investigators received more than 1,300 tips but a state trooper’s spotting of an SUV with a driver that matched the suspect’s description proved to be the big break in the case.
The trooper wrote down the license plate number on his hand and authorities were then able to obtain DNA from the suspect, who was identified as Colon-Ortiz. His DNA led to a match from evidence collected at the crime scene.
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