An El Paso man who is so severely mentally ill that his own defense lawyers called him “clueless,” has avoided the death penalty for a horrifying, gruesome double murder he committed almost exactly three years ago.
Christian Alberto Martinez instead was hit with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for randomly murdering a mother and her adult daughter in their own home in El Paso during the daylight hours of January 28, 2011.
Martinez stabbed the two El Paso women a total of 100 times, and was attempting to kill himself by sawing off his left hand with a serrated kitchen knife when another of the murdered woman’s daughters arrived home to the nightmare scene.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Joe Spencer told the El Paso jury that Martinez had a “broken brain,” calling the East El Paso murders of Amalia Flores, 58, and her 20-year-old daughter Jovana, “a tragedy, not a crime,” because Martinez suffers from such debilitating mental illness that he had no idea what he was doing when he followed Jovana Flores, after crossing her path by chance as she jogged home, then killed her and her mother.
During the two-and-a-half-week trial in an El Paso courtroom, Martinez maintained a blank expression and rarely even looked up, even as Nallely Galindo, the daughter who discovered the double murder, told him, in tears, “Christian, I know you understand every word I’m saying and have paid attention. You took two lives in your hands, and you made a world of pain. You have put images in my head that I will never forget. I want you to realize what you did. You hurt my family and you hurt me.”
When Galindo demanded that Martinez look at her, he finally raised his head.
He also looked up when Judge Gonzalo Garcia insisted that he do so as his sentence was read out.
“It all goes to his mental illness,” said Spencer, following the sentencing in an El Paso District Court. “Not one time did he ask us how’s it looking, what’s the problem, what are they (the jury) are saying. He just really is clueless.”
The seven woman, seven man jury — including two alternate jurors — convicted Martinez on January 30, rejecting his defense team’s plea for a ruling of not guilty by reason of insanity.
The same El Paso jury took eight hours to decide on the life-without-parole sentence rather than the death penalty.