On Wednesday, the long journey toward justice, she says, will mark a critical milestone. It's thought a jury will be seated in the murder trial of Edward Romero. The trial, which could last upwards of three weeks, will likely center on the issue of sanity.
Prosecutors believe Romero killed 16-year old Alicia Martinez before dismembering her body inside a northwest Denver home in October of 2010. Romero has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and has faced delayed legal proceedings due to questions over his mental competency.
"It's been a long wait, a long two years, the longest two years of my life," Vanessa Martinez said on Tuesday. "I just miss [Alicia's] enthusiasm, her smile, her love for life."
Out of respect for the legal process, she declined to say much about the accused.
"Right now, mum's the word until I can really express all of my feelings toward him," she said.
She expects to be among the first to testify in the trial due to the fact that she talked with Romero shortly after the murder occurred.
At the time, she still believed her daughter was simply missing. Romero, according to prosecutors, offered to help in the search.
Romero's defense has long insisted through legal motions that Romero is mentally ill and incapable of determining the difference between right and wrong.
9News legal analyst Scott Robinson said on Tuesday Romero's defense faces a difficult task of trying to convince a jury of that.
"Jurors are told that knowing the difference between right and wrong is not the end of it. They also have to determine if the [defendant's] conduct was motivated by anger, passion, or just downright evil," he said.
Should they find any of those to be a factor in the death, he said they will likely find the defendant guilty of first degree murder.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)