A Massachusetts man was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty Vanessa Marcotte, the 27-year-old Google employee who was killed after going for a walk in 2016, is guilty of murder, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 36, of Worcester, will not be eligible for parole for at least 45 years after being convicted of second-degree murder and unarmed robbery, according to a Worcester County District Attorney’s press release.
Marcotte was an account manager at Google based in New York, and was visiting her mother’s home in Princeton, Massachusetts. He went out on the evening of August 7, 2016, and disappeared when he did not return home as expected. His body was later found in the woods less than a mile from his home.
Reports before Marcotte’s death indicated he was out for a run when he was attacked, but prosecutors say he was walking.
However, her death raised awareness of the harassment women runners face regularly, highlighted in a Runner’s World story a year later.
Police were able to obtain DNA evidence of the suspect from Marcotte and a description of the suspect based on tips. Eight months after his death, a state trooper pulled over a driver – Colon-Ortiz – who matched the suspect’s description, and whose DNA matched the suspect’s, and arrested him.
Joseph Early Jr. the district attorney praised the work of the Massachusetts State Police, Princeton Police and assistant district attorneys for the investigation and prosecution.
“We know nothing can bring Vanessa back, but we know that through the hard work of the prosecutors and investigators involved, justice will be served, and the petition allows Vanessa’s family to move on from this tragedy.”
In a statement, the Marcotte family said they are “grateful and happy that the legal process has done what we always wanted, that this man will now be in a place where he cannot hurt anyone else the way he hurt Vanessa.”
The Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation, established in her memory in 2017, has held self-defense workshops for women and individuals on violence prevention, runner safety, boundary setting and healthy relationships, according to a press release.
“Vanessa would have wanted to take action. He would be proud of what we are doing in his honor to make the world a safer place,” foundation founders Caroline Tocci and Ashley McNiff said in a statement.
Marcotte, who graduated with honors from Boston University in 2011, had been working at Google since January 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“Vanessa Marcotte was a much-loved member of the Google team who worked in the New York office for the past year and a half, and was known for her ubiquitous smile, passion for volunteerism and love of Boston sports,” a Google spokesperson said. after his death. “We are very shocked and saddened, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”