Woman charged with killing family smiles in court
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.
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.