Seven years ago today, US Army Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez murdered my husband, Captain Phillip Esposito.
Evidence presented at Martinez's court-martial in 2008 revealed that Staff Sergeant Martinez placed a claymore anti-personal mine in the window of my husband's office and detonated it, killing my husband and another officer. Further evidence revealed Staff Sergeant Martinez's motive; either to avoid his being removed from his position for cause, or to punish my husband for removing him, Staff Sergeant Martinez premeditatedly murdered my husband and the officer set to replace Martinez at his job.
Testimony at court-martial revealed that Staff Sergeant Martinez issued hundreds of death threats against my husband's life; nevertheless, none of these threats were acted upon by anyone in the 42nd Infantry Division of the National Guard and United States Army in which Martinez served, nor was my husband ever informed of these threats. If Staff Sergeant Martinez set and fired the mine that slaughtered my husband, Martinez's unindicted co-conspirators were the men and women of the 42nd Infantry Division who recklessly sat on their hands while Martinez spewed his venom.
At his court-martial, Staff Sergeant Martinez put forth no reasonable hypothesis of innocence; at least none that would convince me of his innocence in the face of the evidence presented against him, or compel me to demand further investigation and criminal charges levied against others. Thus it goes without saying that in my view, Staff Sergeant Martinez's freedom to commit murder and his subsequent acquittal by a military court-martial is an egregious error of justice.
But further, I have stood singularly alone in my public appraisal of the undisciplined military culture within the 42nd Infantry Division that set the stage for my husband's murder and of the defects in the military justice that set my husband's killer free.
That is not to say that private comments have not been made to me. For example, I received the message below just last week, ostensibly in honor of Memorial Day:
Mrs. Esposito, Please do not post my comments to your blog. I was a fellow Captain that worked with your husband at FOB Danger--he was a good officer and a good person. His professionalism was above that of other officers in his unit. I was in the next building over when your husband was killed. Although, it has taken me years to write to you, please know that few days pass that I don't think about how awful and unprofessional the culture was at FOB Danger during that time. Your husband paid the ultimate price for the failure of Army leadership. Please know that this Memorial Day, like every Memorial Day, I remember my fellow innocent officers that were murdered by their own. My thoughts will be with you over this weekend. With great respect and peace--A former officer and current Army wife living in Europe.
Seven years after Phillip's murder, I still seek justice—I still seek my vindication. I still seek to show the cause of Phillip's death, and show how this cause was both needless and preventable. I still seek to prevent future slaughter, if only to serve as a living memorial to Phillip's memory. I still seek to raise our daughter with proof that her father and his family received the justice that they deserved. And I still seek to rebuild my life, and live free in a world no longer dominated by the taint of Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez and his sundry apologists and defenders.