Melissa Ann Martinez, a mother who gave her son alcohol and drugs and paid for a hotel room so that he could have “one heck of a fantastic prom night” with his date that he ended up choking to death, has been sentenced to 21 months in jail after reaching a plea deal.
As the Dallas Morning News reports, Martinez was sentenced in Houston, Texas, after admitting that she provided two bottles of Crown Royale whiskey and 20 hydrocodone pills for her son Eddie Herrera, who was 18 at the time, and Jacqueline Gomez, who was 17 at the time, after a prom night in 2014.
Herrera was charged for aggravated assault in the death of Gomez after he confessed he had choked her to death during consensual sex. Herrera said he had found his prom date unresponsive after claims of drinking alcohol, having sex, and going to sleep, but his story changed when her neck was found bruised. He was arrested six months after the fatal incident and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A jury of two women and 10 men deliberated for only two hours before attaining a guilty verdict. Prosecutors were asking for 40 years to life imprisonment.
An autopsy report revealed that Gomez suffered deep hemorrhaging around her neck and had a blood alcohol level of .21, which was three times above the legal limit. She also had the painkiller hydrocodone in her system. Miss Gomez’s family and friends were devastated by the news, saying that she was never a party girl and shuttled most of her time between studying and holding down a part-time job at a grocery store, with a tangible dream of becoming a pharmacy technician.
Jacqueline’s mother, who was very emotional during the verdict, addressing Martinez said, “You are not even sorry for what you did…the punishment you got, you deserve it every day.” Prosecutors argue that Herrera had choked Gomez during sex, but his defense team countered saying that it was consensual and that the young girl died mistakenly from a drug overdose. However, the medical examiners could not arrive at a conclusion whether Jacqueline Gomez died from an overdose or strangulation.
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According to a court affidavit, when Herrera found his prom date unresponsive, he had called his mother who had slept in another room at the North Houston Hyatt Hotel where they stayed and was already waiting in the lobby to take the young couple home. Both mother and son had dressed the dead girl in sweatpants and a nightshirt and waited for two hours before calling 911.
Prosecutor Justin Wood said during the sentencing of Martinez Tuesday, “with a combination of the alcohol and the hydrocodone, the body was already so depressed that it could not recover from the choking injuries… this is just extremely sad because it could all have been prevented.”
This is not the first case of a prom that ended up with someone dying; in 2014, coincidentally the same year that Gomez was choked to death, another teenager, Christopher Plakson, stabbed his friend and classmate, Maren Sanchez, to death in a hallway because she had turned down his prom invitation.
Plakson had lured Sanchez to an isolated place under the guise of wanting to talk before stabbing her repeatedly in the neck and torso. Paramedics and staff members had battled to save the bubbly girl, who was a member of the National Honor Society and an active participant in other school activities, but she died at a nearby hospital of her injuries.
[Image via Shutterstock/Anna Moskvina]