A Modesto man convicted of stabbing his wife five times because she wanted a divorce has been found suitable for parole.
Catarino Santos Martinez, 49, was found suitable for parole at a July 12 hearing, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced this week.
Prosecutors said Martinez had been denied parole six times in the past 13 years. State parole officials have 120 days to review the decision. Then, the Governor’s Office will review Martinez’s case and determine whether to uphold, overturn or modify the state parole board’s decision.
The governor can also decide to send the decision to the full state parole board of 14 commissioners to review decision or take no action, which would result in Martinez’s release from prison.
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If Martinez is released, prosecutors say federal immigration officials will deport him.
The attack occurred April 19, 1998, at Martinez’s home in the 100 block of Oak Street in west Modesto. Prosecutors said Martinez’s wife had left him and was planning to divorce him. They said Martinez decided if he could not have her then no one could.
Martinez lured his wife back into their house by telling her a letter had arrived for her. That was a lie, according to prosecutors, and he waited until she was inside a bedroom before he attacked her.
Authorities said he stabbed her in the back, but she escaped and survived the stabbing. Police at the time said the injured 24-year-old woman was seen covered in blood and running from the home.
Martinez, who was 30 years old at the time, left the area but was arrested later that day after returning to his neighborhood to pick up his three children at a friend’s home. In September 1998, he was convicted of attempted murder and spousal battery for the attack on his wife.