A Modesto man accused of killing five people in a northeast Modesto home nearly two years ago appeared in Stanislaus Superior Court on Monday morning.
The bespectacled Martin Martinez, 32, in red-and-white jail garb with his slicked black hair down past his shoulders, sat quietly during a five-minute pretrial hearing to confirm both sides were ready for the start of his scheduled Aug. 21 preliminary hearing.
He is charged with killing his girlfriend, Dr. Amanda Crews, her two daughters, his mother and his niece at Crews’ Nob Hill Court home on July 18, 2015. He’s being held without bail at the Stanislaus County Jail.
At Monday’s hearing, both sides agreed to meet again on July 24 in Judge Ricardo Cordova’s courtroom to make sure they were ready for next month’s prelim.
Amanda Crews’ sister, Kim Crews, was at Monday’s hearing, along with other family members of the victims. She politely declined comment before entering the courtroom, conferring with Deputy District Attorney Rick Mury before and after the hearing.
In addition to the 38-year-old Amanda Crews, 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 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.