Joaquin Martinez, the Spaniard who spent three years on Florida's death row before his double murder conviction was reversed, was found not guilty of the crimes on Wednesday night in a retrial, and wants to take the first steps in rebuilding his life in the Balearics. Martinez's uncle said yesterday that Martinez is expected to arrive in Madrid on Monday, where he will spend a few days, before coming to the Balearics to try and get over his ordeal. “He loves the coast and he loves the islands,” Ignacio González Martínez said. What is more, the campaign by his dedicated parents to free Martinez has received a substantial amount of political and financial support from the Balearics. Joaquin Martinez, 30, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1997 for the murders of Douglas Lawson and Sherry McCoy at the couple's home near Tampa in 1995. The Florida Supreme Court reversed the conviction last year citing errors by the prosecution and ordered a new trial. Martinez's death sentence drew strong protests in Spain, which does not have the death penalty. The King of Spain and Pope John Paul II made appeals for his life to be spared. Florida prosecutors announced before the start of the second trial on May 29 that they would not seek the death penalty this time if Martinez was convicted. Prosecutors said they had an incriminating tape-recording of a conversation between Martinez and his ex-wife in which he discussed the murders. They said Martinez wanted money from the victims. But the trial judge said the recording was inaudible and ruled the jury could not hear it. The 12-member jury reached a verdict in about two hours, according to a court official. “Many thanks, one more time, to all Spanish media, to all Spain, to all who believed in us and gave us moral and financial support, without which this would have been impossible,” the acquitted man's father, Joaquin Martinez said. “Finally justice is served, and this is going to set a precedent in this country,” he said.


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