, 2022-07-29 20:48:33,
Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
Michelle Martens used to call Victoria her “miracle child.”
“I delivered her by myself at home – I just went into labor with her at my house and they took me to the hospital afterwards with her,” Martens testified on Friday. “Basically I wasn’t having no doctor visits, I didn’t have no prenatal care but she was healthy.”
It’s been almost six years since 10-year-old Victoria Martens was strangled and then dismembered and set on fire in the bathtub of her mother’s apartment. It was a gruesome crime that shocked the city.
Then prosecutors revealed, two years later, that much of the prevailing narrative – that Martens had watched as her then boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales and his cousin Jessica Kelley, raped and killed her only daughter – was simply not true. Instead, prosecutors say, Gonzales and Martens were out of the home when Victoria was killed and Kelley had let an unknown man in, who killed the girl.
Martens, 41, was the last person called to testify by Gonzales’ defense team. It was the final day of testimony in the weeks’ long trial before Judge Cindy Leos in 2nd Judicial District Court.
Gonzales, 37, is charged with reckless abuse of a child resulting in death, conspiracy to tamper with evidence and several other counts of tampering with evidence. He appeared virtually on Friday, from his couch at home, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Both Martens and Kelley have already taken plea deals. Martens pleaded guilty in 2018 to reckless child abuse resulting in death and faces between 12 and 15 years in prison. In 2019 Kelley, now 37, pleaded no contest to six felony charges including reckless child abuse resulting in death, aggravated assault and other charges. She was sentenced to 44 years in prison, although she will be eligible for parole in half the time. She testified as a witness for the prosecution early in the trial.
The jury is scheduled to begin its deliberations on Monday.
Eager to please
Over the years and during the course of the trial, investigators, a psychiatrist and even her own attorney have described Martens as eager to please and as agreeing to any statement brought before her.
That was evident in court on Friday as she frequently appeared to agree to…
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