AP

Man convicted of death and dismemberment of New Mexico girl

Aug 1, 2022, 1:48 PM | Updated: 1:52 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man was convicted Monday in the 2016 death of an Albuquerque girl who was strangled, dismembered and set on fire in the bathtub of her mother’s apartment on her 10th birthday.

The jury deliberated less than four hours before returning with guilty verdicts on all charges Fabian Gonzales faced in the death of Victoria Martens. He was charged with reckless child abuse resulting in death, tampering with evidence and conspiracy to tamper with evidence.

Prosecutors said Gonzales faces up to 43 1/2 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Gonzales, now 37, had moved into the girl’s mother’s apartment a month before the girl’s death on Aug. 23, 2016. Prosecutors during the trial argued that although Gonzales didn’t kill Victoria, he set in motion a series of events that created a dangerous environment that ultimately led to the girl’s death.

Gonzales was also accused of helping his cousin, Jessica Kelley, dismember the girl, set her remains on fire and clean the crime scene in an attempt to conceal the death.

Kelley, 37, testified that she was high on methamphetamine at the time. She reached a plea agreement with prosecutors on charges that included reckless child abuse resulting in death in exchange for testifying at Gonzales’ trial. She was sentenced earlier this year to 44 years in prison.

The girl’s mother, Michelle Martens, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of intentional child abuse resulting in death in a 2018 plea agreement. Her sentencing was delayed until the conclusion of Gonzales’ trial and prosecutors have said she is expected to get 12 to 15 years in prison.

During the investigation, police determined that Martens and Gonzales were not home when Victoria was killed and arrived later that night.

Defense lawyers tried but failed to convince jurors that Kelley was solely responsible for the girl’s death and dismemberment. Gonzales had allowed Kelley to stay at the Martens’ apartment shortly after Kelley was released from prison.

“I would tell you, this is not a complicated case, it’s actually fairly easy to solve. But emotion can overwhelm that,” Stephen Aarons, Gonzales’ attorney, said in his closing argument. “There is an urge to flush anyone and everyone remotely connected down the toilet.”

Aarons said the verdict will be appealed.

Gonzales tested positive for COVID-19 last week and appeared virtually at his trial for two days.

He returned Monday to hear the verdict from a plexiglass box inside the courtroom.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

2 days ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

2 days ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

2 days ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

3 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

5 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Man convicted of death and dismemberment of New Mexico girl