Gang ties take center stage during latest hearing in Victoria Martens case
September 21, 2018 06:56 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – One of the suspects implicated in the murder of young Victoria Martens was in court Friday afternoon, a week after prosecutors released documents detailing a new timeline of the days leading up to the night she was killed.
Judge Charles Brown also made some big decisions on what will be allowed to be used as evidence when the trial of Fabian Gonzales begins in October.
According to the new court documents, a gang member looking for Gonzales could be the one who killed the little girl in 2016.
Gonzales is being charged with reckless child abuse resulting in death and tampering with evidence. On Friday, his alleged gang ties took center stage, as prosecutors and defense attorneys sparred over what evidence the jury will be able to hear during the trial.
One of the main arguments was whether the jury should be allowed to hear testimony related to the suspect's gang ties. Prosecutors said Gonzales made threats against a rival gang member after a woman punched him in the face during a barbecue.
Jessica Kelly, originally the prime suspect in Victoria's killing, claimed just last week that a still-unidentified man entered their apartment, killed Victoria, then told her the murder was Gonzales's fault.
Prosecutors want to put two gang experts on the stand, but the defense argued that would be unfair.
"For a jury to remain objective when the state wants to really just have a spaghetti prosecution…they're throwing everything at the wall and hoping some of it sticks," Gonzales's attorney told Judge Charles Brown in court. "Even if it doesn't, the jury might convict because, well, he's a gang member, and we'll just flush him down the toilet."
Brown didn't make a decision on Friday, instead saying he wants to have a hearing to see if the expert witnesses would be relevant. However, to the dismay of the defense, he did say a jury will be allowed to see one lapel camera video from Albuquerque Police officers who initially found Victoria's burning body in a bathtub.
"I'm hesitant because, clearly, any of the physical damage done to the child can be shown through the testimony of the Office of the Medical Investigator," Brown said.
Victoria's mom, Michelle Martens, will testify against Gonzales as part of a plea deal. A judge recently rejected a similar plea deal for Kelly.
Updated: September 21, 2018 06:56 PM
Created: September 21, 2018 04:49 PM
Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved