Woman charged with killing fam­ily smiles in court

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

A woman charged with killing four of her young chil­dren and their fa­ther smiled and flashed a dou­ble thumbs up to news cam­eras dur­ing her first court ap­pear­ance Fri­day in metro At­lanta be­fore telling a judge she doesn’t want an at­tor­ney.

Also, an im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cial said the woman, who is from Mex­ico, en­tered the U.S. il­le­gally.

Is­abel Martinez, 33, ap­peared be­fore Gwin­nett County Mag­is­trate Court Judge Michael Thorpe a day af­ter po­lice said she stabbed the five to death and se­ri­ously injured an­other child at her home out­side At­lanta. The injured child, a 9-year-old girl, sur­vived but re­mained hos­pi­tal­ized with in­juries po­lice de­scribed as se­ri­ous.

Be­fore the hear­ing be­gan, Martinez sat with other inmates and struck poses for cam­eras — smil­ing, giv­ing the thumbs up, putting her hands in a prayer po­si­tion and spread­ing her arms out wide.

As Judge Thorpe listed the charges against her — five counts of mal­ice mur­der, five counts of mur­der and six counts of ag­gra­vated as­sault — Martinez smiled, shook her head “no” and wagged her fin­ger at him. The judge ad­vised her sharply not to per­form for the cam­eras.

When Thorpe in­formed her of her right to have an at­tor­ney, she said through a Span­ish-lan­guage in­ter­preter that she doesn’t want one. She later added that her at­tor­ney will al­ways be the peo­ple and her faith.

Thorpe ad­vised Martinez to hire a lawyer or to al­low one to be ap­pointed for her.

Mean­while, U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment spokesman Bryan Cox said in an email Fri­day that Martinez — whom he iden­ti­fied as Maria Is­abel Gar­duno-Martinez — is from Mex­ico and en­tered the coun­try il­le­gally. This is her first en­counter with im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties, and it’s not clear how long she has been in the U.S., Cox said.

Lo­cal of­fi­cials called the killings “hor­ren­dous.”

“What prompts a per­son to take the life of such in­no­cent chil­dren and her spouse is some­thing we may never un­der­stand,” Gwin­nett County po­lice said in a state­ment.

AP PHOTO

Is­abel Martinez gestures to­wards news cam­eras dur­ing her first court ap­pear­ance Fri­day, in Lawrenceville, Ga. Martinez is charged with killing four of her chil­dren and their fa­ther.

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