Jury selection underway in Fabian Gonzales trial
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Almost six years later, jury selection is finally underway in the trial of Fabian Gonzales.
He is one of the three suspects arrested following the brutal killing of 10-year-old Victoria Martens, who was found dead in a West Side apartment complex in August 2016.
Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, and Gonzales’ cousin, Jessica Kelley, have already taken plea deals for their involvement.
As day one of jury selection starts, there are questions of whether or not the court will be able to seat impartial jurors.
“Most people become pretty judgmental pretty quickly. Folks, all people, are judgmental when it comes to tragedies, like this case has,” said Ahmad Assed, legal expert.
Assed said all of the media coverage surrounding this case could make finding a fair jury quite the task.
“It is a constitutional protection afforded to defendants to be able to be, to have people who are impartial, folks, their peers, to be impartial and come to a conclusion based on the facts,” said Assed.
On Monday, both sides began questioning potential jurors. They are looking for 14 people who haven’t already made up their minds.
“You talk to them one on one, you get to see the white of their eyes. You can go back and forth on the questions with the notion of ‘you must have heard about the case’ then what? It’s not enough to say you’ve heard about the case, it’s an awful case. Then you got to establish that they’re able to render a decision based on facts and not emotional ties,” Assed said.
If they are having trouble finding jurors, Assed says there are some next steps.
“There will be discussions about a change of venue or giving it one more, or expanding the jurisdictional area to include further jurors to hear the case. It could mean moving the case to a different case,” said Assed.
If all goes as planned, opening statements are set to begin Wednesday.