Fabian Gonzales Trial: A closer look at the fourth suspect theory

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After less than four hours of deliberations, a jury found Fabian Gonzales guilty on all nine charges for his role in the August 2016 death of Victoria Martens.

Prosecutors went to great lengths to convince the jury Victoria’s killer is a man who is yet to be identified. They argued that fourth suspect killed Victoria in retaliation against Gonzales – saying this was another way Gonzales created a dangerous situation that led to her death.

“It was meant to just give them everything that we had and in the end, they were able to see that this defendant was, in fact, guilty for participating in setting up the situation that led to her death,” said Deputy District Attorney Greer Staley.

Ryan Laughlin: “The theory here is that there is a fourth unidentified person that is not being held accountable. How do we reconcile that and is the state dedicating any resources to finding this fourth unidentified person?”

Chief Deputy District Attorney James Grayson: “Well, our hope is that this fourth person will be identified eventually, but what we know is that the three people that were prosecuted in this case – those three people had a role in Victoria’s death and that’s why they were prosecuted.”

Prosecutors said Victoria’s murder case is still open with APD. Without mentioning specifics, they said resources are still dedicated to finding the mysterious fourth suspect.

However, the defense maintains the real killer is already in prison.

“The person who killed little Victoria made a plea bargain and testified falsely in this case, and she’s probably laughing now at the fact that the state of New Mexico accepted her version of what happened,” said Stephen Aarons, Gonzales’ attorney. Aarons is accusing Jessica Kelley, Gonzales’ cousin, of the murder.

Ryan Laughlin: “Did the state make a mistake in giving Jessica Kelley the peal deal that she got?”

James Grayson: “Jessica Kelley is in prison today because she played a role in Victoria Martens’ death.”

Ryan Laughlin: “With all due respect, that didn’t answer my question. Is that enough time for her role in this? Did the state make a mistake? Is Jessica Kelley getting a good deal out of what her involvement in Victoria’s death ultimately was?”

James Grayson: “So, in assessing this case, we had three different defendants and our goal in this case was to make sure every one of those individuals received punishment for their role in Victoria’s death and that’s the goal we achieved today.”

Ryan Laughlin: “Is there anything you want to tell the community about finally arriving to this point? And should they be pleased with what justice for Victoria Martens looked like?”

James Grayson: “I think that… that’s a big question so I want to try and unpack it a little bit. You know, I think that we’re grateful for the community for sticking with us through this trial. I think that we always are going to hold out hope that we can identify this fourth person. If we do so, then they can rest assured that we will prosecute that person as vigorously as we did the defendant who was found guilty today.”