|For Immediate Release
Case # 05WF2919
January 10, 2008
BOYFRIEND CONVICTED OF USING BLUNT FORCE TO MURDER GIRLFRIEND’S 6-MONTH-OLD BABY GIRL
*Co-defendant mother pleaded guilty to helping boyfriend lie about the murder
SANTA ANA – A boyfriend was convicted yesterday of murdering the 6-month-old baby of his live-in girlfriend after fracturing the little girl’s skull by blunt force with the butt of a gun. Rodrigo Martinez Martinez, 24, Garden Grove, was found guilty of murder and assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death. Martinez now faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison at his sentencing on March 7, 2008 in Department C-3, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
The baby’s mother, co-defendant Alma Hernandez, 36, Garden Grove, pleaded guilty on June 22, 2007 to child abuse and endangerment and accessory after the fact. She was sentenced to four years in state prison.
On October 3, 2005, Martinez and Hernandez took 6-month-old baby Diana to the emergency room at UCI Medical Center. Diana died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Hernandez was the baby’s mother and Martinez was Hernandez’ live-in boyfriend. The defendants told the doctors that baby Diana had been injured when Martinez fell and accidentally squeezed her head while carrying her to Hernandez for a bottle. After taking the baby to the hospital, Martinez left and went back to the apartment he shared with Hernandez. He retrieved a gun and asked his landlord to dispose of it before returning to the hospital.
The doctors examining the baby suspected child abuse and called the police. Police officers questioned the defendants, who eventually admitted that they had lied and baby Diana had been injured while in the care of Martinez while Hernandez was at work. Further investigation revealed that this incident was the third substantiated time in the baby’s young life that she had been injured in the care of Martinez, who had lied three pervious times about the nature of Diana’s injuries.
The coroner found that the baby had a substantial fracture to her skull that was caused by blunt force to her head. Subsequent DNA testing of the gun, which had been turned over to police by Martinez’ landlord and contained DNA from both baby Diana and Martinez, showed that the butt of gun had been used to assault the baby.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.