Woman sentenced for role in Franklin home invasion

  • Melissa Natal’s booking photo the night of her arrest. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 12/20/2017 9:11:47 PM

A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to her role in a recent Franklin home invasion and will serve her first ever prison sentence.

Melissa Natal, 36, of Franklin is part of a trio accused in the August home invasion that left a paralyzed mother with duct tape around her neck. The woman told police that the trio attacked her while armed with a gun and a bat, and while her young children were asleep in the next room.

Natal was sentenced in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord to three to six years in state prison on a charge of accomplice to robbery. Six months of her minimum sentence is suspended for four years on conditions of good behavior, and she will receive credit for 117 days already served prior to the resolution of her case.

Natal also pleaded guilty to one count of simple assault and was sentenced to a concurrent 12 months in jail. A misdemeanor charge of criminal restraint was not carried forward as part of a plea agreement.

Defense attorney Jennifer Uhouse told the court Tuesday that Natal plans to take advantage of the programming available to her at the prison, and use her sentence as an opportunity to better herself.

“This incident was fueled by her drug addiction and she is in a really good place right now,” Uhouse said. “She’s hoping that when she goes to the prison she can participate in the programming and work her way to the halfway house and have better success when she is released.”

Prosecutors say Natal was one of three people who broke into the School Street home where Liz Hollins resides with roommates. Juan Flores, 26, and Bryan Martinez, 25, also each face a charge of accomplice to robbery in connection with the Aug. 25 incident.

Martinez is accused of jumping on Hollins and attempting to duct tape her mouth shut so she couldn’t scream, according to court documents.

Another resident, who responded to the commotion, was punched “about a dozen times in the back of the head” in an attempt to ward off the attackers, police said.

Outside the bedroom, the woman’s children asked why their mother was crying. They then huddled around another roommate as Flores pointed a gun at them, police said.

Once Martinez grabbed money from the disabled woman’s bra, the three fled, witnesses said.

Police soon caught up with the trio not far from the crime scene.

The cases against Flores and Martinez are still pending in Merrimack County Superior Court.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)

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