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Posted on Sun. Apr. 27, 2008 - 03:00 am EDT

Slain IPFW student mourned

Nineteen days before she was slain, Liette N. Martinez worried about getting right with God.

“I need to let Jesus into my life more, but it’s just not time yet,” Martinez blogged on her MySpace page. “Whenever I think about it I want to run.”

At a Saturday memorial for the 22-year-old Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne junior, held in front of the dormitory where Martinez was stabbed to death April 18, mourners said she had nothing to fear. He was with her all the time.

“We may not understand why she was murdered, but God’s not a God of chaos,” said senior Rachel Utesch who delivered the opening prayer. “He has a purpose for everything.”

Among those participating in the memorial was Tanzania Morris, daughter of Tina L. Morris, the woman accused in Martinez's death. Fort Wayne Police believe Tina Morris, who has a violent criminal history, stabbed Martinez to death over remarks Martinez made about her daughter. Tanzania Morris declined comment Saturday. Geraldine Martinez, the mother of Liette Martinez, previously told The News-Sentinel she doesn’t hold Tanzania Morris responsible for her daughter’s death.

In a group effort, the mourners prayed for healing and redemption.

“We come to commend to the life everlasting those whose lives are lost in violence,” crowd members prayed. “We come to pray that all those who bring about violence may someday experience a genuine sense of remorse and repentance.”

Tina Morris had been staying with her daughter for some two weeks in violation of the 72-hour maximum stay allowed same-sex guests, according to IPFW officials. The violation disturbed some students attending the memorial who said the rule isn't properly enforced at the apartment-style dormitories managed by American Campus Communities, a private, for-profit corporation in Austin, Texas.

IPFW freshmen Traci Duncan and Cordelia Kearney said it is common for guests to overstay and there needs to be more residential assistants for enforcement. “When I lived here, we’d have random guys walking around, probably in their 50s or so and it took weeks to kick them out,” Duncan said.

Kearney said visitors should have to check in at desks at the lobby of each building. “Because it’s apartment-style living and not really a dorm, it’s easier to get away with breaking the rules,” she said.

IPFW officials on Tuesday promised to review security. Duncan and Kearney also said monitoring by campus police of video surveillance is lax. Eight of the school’s 303 cameras were malfunctioning at the time of the killing, although IPFW officials note cameras did film Tina Morris, helping lead to her arrest a day after the killing. Morris, who faces murder and auto theft charges, was found in Indianapolis in possession of Liette Martinez’s car.

Martinez is the first person slain at IPFW since the campus opened in 1964, but the death comes on the heels of the April 6 fatal shooting of IPFW freshman Frederick Jones, 19, at a nearby, off-campus apartment. Police, who have made no arrests in Jones’ killing, believe he was an innocent bystander to an argument.

The deaths have upset students, Utesch said. Besides honoring Liette Martinez, 22, the service served as a coping mechanism for the students, Utesch said. “It’s horrible to mourn alone,” she said.


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