Dec 11, 2010 12:16 AM by Matt Stafford
Friday night marks five years since Annette Martinez, a 35-year-old mother of three, was stabbed to death while working at a Pueblo 7-11 convenience store.
Family and friends are preparing for another Christmas without their mother, daughter, sister, and friend, but this year they are trying to take something as horrible as Martinez's death and bring something positive from it.
Martinez was murdered just across the street from where the family is gathering to remember her, five years ago to the day.
"The night she died she had given a coming home party for her cousin," says Annette's mother, Patricia Hijar-Converse. But she got a call asking for help at the 7-11 store she was working at, wanting her to pick up a shift. Martinez wanted to earn more money for her family's Christmas.
"She says mom, I have to. I have to go," Hijar-Converse remembers from that night 5 years ago.
Martinez didn't make it home.
Now, after five years of grieving, they wanted to find something positive to come from something so negative. They decided to collect toys for the Y.W.C.A., helping victims of domestic violence and families in need this holiday season; something her family says was right up Annette's alley.
"She would have gone and done this," Hijar-Converse says. "I mean she was always giving and doing for others."
Martinez's son, Christian Milberger, remembers how giving his mother was. He remembers a lot from the baseball diamond where she coached him and his two brothers.
"We're just going to try and move on; give good presents, give something good for the community because I know that's what she would do," says Milberger.
Remembering back to the first Christmas without her, and each since, Milberger knows how much reaching out to someone in their time of need can really mean to them.
"It's the small things that count."
Donations to help give families a better holiday season can be made to the Pueblo Y.W.C.A. in the name of Annette Martinez.
Freddie Delariva was arrested less than 24 hours after the murder. He pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Arrest affidavits say Delariva was trying to steal three cartons of cigarettes.