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After woman tracks down her father’s killer via social media, judge drops cold case indictment

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INWOOD, Manhattan (PIX11) -- After years of fighting for justice in her father's cold case murder, Joselyn Martinez had to face a judge's decision to throw out the case.

Justo Santos, the accused killer of Jose Martinez, was in tears Thursday following Justice Robert Stolz's decision to drop the indictment.

Stolz said following through with the case would violate Santos' constitutional rights. Santos would not get a speedy trial because it took 27 years to make an arrest after the alleged crime.

The 1986 murder took place outside Jose Martinez's restaurant in Inwood on Nov. 22.

Jocelyn Martinez says Santos, who was 16 at the time, came into the restaurant with two friends and started harassing Jocelyn's mother and her father threw them out.

Then, things become complicated. Santos claims at that point, Jose started choking him, and Santos shot Jose in self defense.

While Santos was immediately a person of interest in the case, police did nothing when he fled to the Dominican Republic.

Santos spent one year in jail in the Dominican Republic for the crime. Then, he traveled in and out of the US as he pleased without raising any red flags. The police closed the case.

Joselyn spent 8 years and cash for background checks trying to find her father's killer alone, without police help.

Finally, she found Santos working as a janitor in Miami, and pointed authorities in the right direction. Santos was arrested in June 2013, only to be released Thursday.

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