|For Immediate Release
Case # 02NF3143
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
GANG MEMBER SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR INVOLVEMENT IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE CONSPIRACY OF FAMILY BUSINESSMAN
*This is the second defendant to be sentenced to the death penalty; third defendant is awaiting death penalty trial
SANTA ANA – A gang member was sentenced to the death penalty today for the special circumstances murder of a family businessman after being recruited in a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Alberto Martinez, 32, Castaic, was convicted May 6, 2010, of one felony count each of special circumstances murder, conspiracy to commit the crime of murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, kidnapping to commit robbery, and street terrorism. The special circumstances sentencing enhancements for murder for financial gain, murder during the commission of robbery, murder during the commission of kidnapping, and murder committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang were found true. The jury also found true the sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death as a gang member and criminal street gang activity.
The People introduced evidence in aggravation that, from 1996 to 2000, the defendant was convicted of sales or transportation of cocaine, possession of cocaine, escape from a jail facility without force, and possessing illegal and controlled substances in jail. Also on eight occasions while awaiting trial for this case, the defendant manufactured or possessed shanks while in the Orange County Jail.
The victim’s widow testified about the duty she felt to represent her husband and the difficulties she experienced through multiple trials. Before the murder, her husband was the bread-winner and she was the stay-at-home mom. She became the head of the household from the moment the detectives knocked on her door to deliver the bad news. She recalled how she and the victim looked forward to the future, when he could stop working so hard and they could enjoy their golden years together.
All three of their children also testified. The children, who were 7, 9 and 11 at the time their father was murdered, recalled being told by their mom and the priest that their dad was dead. The youngest child said he did not know what that meant at the time. The middle child testified about the difficulty of growing up without a father and feeling pain when her friends would talk about their fathers. The oldest child testified that when she thinks about her father, she thinks about the cemetery where he is buried.
The defense introduced mitigating evidence that the defendant’s parents were both child molesters. There was no evidence that either parent molested the defendant. The defendant had gang members in his family. Martinez’ father and four brothers, three social workers, a child abuse expert, and a sociology expert testified on behalf of the defense.