The murder of Victoria Martens: Man gets 37 years for killing and mutilating GF's daughter, 10, on her b'day
Graphic content, discretion advised.
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO: Fabian Elias Gonzales, a 38-year-old man from New Mexico, will serve several decades in prison for his part in the murder and mutilation of his girlfriend's 10-year-old daughter six years ago. Judge Cindy Leos of the Second Judicial District Court sentenced Gonzales to the maximum term of 37.5 years on October 27. Gonzales was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, one count of reckless abuse of a child that resulted in death, and seven counts of tampering with evidence in relation to the 2016 death of young Victoria Martens, as per Law&Crime.
Judge Leos merged two accusations of tampering with evidence resulting from the removal of Victoria's body parts in order to prevent a potential legal challenge based on the principle of double jeopardy. The prosecution had originally requested a sentence of 40 years. In order to avoid having to impose more than one punishment, Judge Leos emphasized the need to “look at each count of tampering and see if they are distinct acts” because “if they are not distinct acts, there can only be one punishment.”
In 2018, Michelle Martens, Victoria's mother, also entered a guilty plea to careless child abuse that resulted in death. She gave evidence during Gonzales' trial and will be sentenced on November 10. She might spend 12 to 15 years behind bars. According to the prosecution, Gonzales and Martens' acts directly contributed to the strangulation killing.
“If it were not for Mr Gonzales, there is no question in my mind that Victoria Martens would still be alive. He was the conduit for her death and clearly the jury agreed with that,” Judge Leos said before formally sentencing Gonzales. “He entered into Michelle Martens’ life and changed the course of not only her life, but ended Victoria’s life just a couple of weeks later, on her birthday.”
According to a report from the Albuquerque Journal, Gonzales and Martens connected through a dating app in July 2016. Soon after, Gonzales settled in with Martens and Victoria.
“Soon, Gonzales began using drugs in Michelle Martens’ apartment and let his cousin, 37-year-old Jessica Kelley, move in after her release from prison, witnesses testified at trial,” the report states. Gonzales left Victoria alone with Kelley on the day of the murder, even though he was aware that Kelley was using methamphetamine and increasingly paranoid, Leos said. Kelley also asserted that when they left her alone with the 10-year-old, the pair was aware she was high.
According to Judge Leos, Gonzales was "aware of Jessica Kelley's propensity for violence, as well as her paranoia, on the date that Victoria was ultimately murdered," and "I do not believe that his responsibility in Victoria's death was remote," throughout the proceedings. In 2019, Kelley entered a no-contest plea to charges of aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, and irresponsible child abuse that resulted in death. She received a 44-year jail term.
According to reports, prosecutors have acknowledged that neither Gonzales nor Martens was present in the apartment when Victoria was killed, insisting that Kelley or another, man whose DNA was discovered at the site, had to be the murderer. However, according to the prosecution, Gonzales and Kelley collaborated to dismember Victoria's body after the girl died. However, since Gonzales was not there when the girl was killed, Judge Leos declined to sentence him as a "severe violent criminal," which would have required him to spend 85% of his sentence. Now, he will be qualified for release after spending half of his term.
Victoria Martens was killed at her residence in Northwest Albuquerque on August 23, 2016. The 10-year-old child, according to investigators, was strangled to death, dismembered, and then set afire. Additionally, they claim that the scene was cleaned up before the police showed up, according to KRQE News.