An April preliminary hearing could be delayed for Martin Martinez, who is accused of killing his girlfriend, Amanda Crews, along with her two daughters, his mother and his niece.
Martinez appeared briefly in court Tuesday morning.
Chief Deputy Public Defender Sonny Sandhu, one of Martinez’s court-appointed attorneys, told the judge the defense is continuing to receive evidence collected by the prosecution. So far, the defense has received about 10,000 pages of documents, he said.
Sandhu told the judge the defense might need more time to review this evidence as more of it is handed over. This could possibly delay the start of the preliminary hearing, which is used to determine whether there’s enough evidence for Martinez to stand trial.
For now, the hearing remains scheduled to begin April 24. Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova will take up the issue again on Feb. 10, when the defendant returns to court. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Martinez.
The five slayings occurred July 18, 2015, at Crews’ home on Nob Hill Court in east Modesto. In addition to Crews, 38, 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. Martinez was Rachael’s father.
In a separate case, Martinez has been ordered to stand trial 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. That case has been set aside, for now, as the case in the 2015 killings moves forward.
Martinez has pleaded not guilty to five counts of murder, as well as the charges in the toddler’s death.