x

WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

Convicted Killer’s Death Brings Closure to Victim’s Family

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — The final chapter of a brutal murder case has come to a close. Carrie Martin was the Luzerne County Fair Queen when she was stabbed ...

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. -- The final chapter of a brutal murder case has come to a close.

Carrie Martin was the Luzerne County Fair Queen when she was stabbed 50 times in her home in 2004. Now, both the men who killed her are dead.

Joseph Gacha was found guilty of murdering Martin 15 years ago. He has been serving a life sentence for his crimes at a state prison in Fayette County. On Monday, he was found dead inside that prison.

For Martin’s family, his death is bringing them some peace.

“All the weight I've carried for the past 15 and a half years just lifted out of me, and I finally think this is closure,” Martin’s mother, Wendy Cadwalader, said.

Police said Gacha and Daniel Kukucka stabbed 20-year-old Martin in her apartment in Larksville.

Kukucka was arrested and died by suicide in jail before his murder trial began.

Martin was laid to rest at Idetown Cemetery near Dallas.

Her family said they will always remember her as a one-of-a-kind, wonderful woman.

“Carrie was the most bubbly, happy, clumsy kid you ever met in your life. Like, she would walk into a room and, you know, people say they light up a room, but she truly did,” Cadwalader said.

Martin’s family continues to keep her memory alive. There is a Christmas tree dedicated to her at Grotto Pizza in Harveys Lake and a scholarship in her name at West Side Tech.

“It's just a shame. Not to say that anybody's life isn't important, but she was on a mission. She would've done things and gone places if this hadn't happened,” Martin’s Uncle Jonah Smith said.

State police and the coroner’s office are investigating how Gacha died.