Michelle Martens testifies in Fabian Gonzales trial
Click here to watch Michelle Martens’ full testimony during Friday morning’s proceedings.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The trial of Fabian Gonzales continued Friday as Michelle Martens testified as a defense witness.
Fabian and Michelle were arrested after the murder of Michelle’s 10-year-old daughter, Victoria Martens, in August 2016. Michelle’s testimony took place Friday morning and wrapped up as a stipulation of her plea deal.
Before her testimony, Richard Lewis, a retired detective, said his interview with Michelle was difficult because she was extremely suggestible. Despite there being talk of a psychiatrist paid for by the state to analyze her mind, the findings were never presented in open court.
While on the stand, Michelle described her relationship with Gonzales, saying he was a “good guy” and didn’t know he drank or did drugs. She described Gonzales’ demeanor after getting into a fight at a family barbecue event, significant to the case because the state believed the motive for killing Victoria was retaliation for that fight.
Michelle was then asked about the day Victoria was killed. She said Gonzales convinced her to leave Victoria at home with Gonzales’ cousin, Jessica Kelley, who was staying with them after she got out of prison. Through tears, Michelle recalled when Kelley told her Victoria was dead while she was in the middle of attacking her with an iron:
Defense Attorney Hugh Dangler: “Who made the decision to leave Victoria with Jessica the last time when you guys left?”
Michelle Martens: “That was me.”
Dangler: “Did Fabian ever make decisions about Victoria?”
Michelle: “He made that one, he talked me into leaving her with her.”
Dangler: “He talked you into that?”
Dangler: “He took part in that decision?”
Michelle: “Yes, he did. Right by the door, I had a picture frame and she hit me with the picture frame – and I eventually made my way out the door and I squashed her hand in the door and she let go of my hair and she said, ‘By the way, your daughter is dead.'”
Michelle waved goodbye to her parents sitting in the courtroom as she was taken back to jail following the testimony.
Michelle has yet to be sentenced and is looking at 12-15 years for her role in Victoria’s death.
The jury was read instructions before the court recessed for lunch. Closing arguments began around 1 p.m. Friday. Once closing arguments wrap up, the trial will go to the jury.
WATCH: Closing arguments in the Fabian Gonzales trial
Gonzales faces one count of reckless child abuse resulting in death and tampering with evidence charges.
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