A preliminary hearing for Martin Martinez in the slayings of five people was pushed back Friday morning until Aug. 21 when the prosecution and defense asked Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova to vacate the scheduled April 24 start date.
The defendant is charged with killing his girlfriend, Dr. Amanda Crews; her two daughters; his mother; and his niece July 18, 2015.
Deputy District Attorney Rick Mury said the prosecution and defense have discussed issues still being cleared up regarding discovery, including trouble with the hard drives of computers that were taken as evidence. He also said Chief Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees, who’s also prosecuting, has a trial starting earlier in April.
Chief Deputy Public Defender Sonny Sandhu said he didn’t know “what discovery remains out there” to be presented to the defense, but if additional issues arise, he may request a further delay.
Both sides asked Córdova to keep April 24 on the calendar as a pretrial date to discuss evidence discovery. The judge agreed.
Martinez was in court, bearded and with his hair well below shoulder length. Across the courtroom were family members of the victims, including Amanda Crews’ twin sister, Kimberly Crews. Rees spoke with the family after the short hearing.
The slayings occurred at Crews’ home on Nob Hill Court in east Modesto. In addition to the 38-year-old, the victims were her daughters, 6-month-old Rachael and 6-year-old Elizabeth; Martinez’s mother, Anna Brown Romero, 57; and Martinez’s 5-year-old niece, Esmeralda Navarro. Rachael was Martinez’s daughter with Crews.
Crews had worked as a doctor in Stanislaus County Health Services Agency clinics, most recently in Modesto.
In a separate case, Martinez will be tried on charges of murder and child abuse in the Oct. 2, 2014, death of Crews’ 2-year-old son, Christopher Ripley. The trial in Christopher’s death has not been scheduled.
Martinez has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327