Court mulls how to find defense for ‘John Doe’ in Victoria Martens’ case

There was no defendant nor defense attorney at a bizarre district court hearing for the unknown fourth suspect in the Victoria Martens’ murder case.

The state had filed a motion requesting to summons a “John Doe.” 

It was at a news conference in late June that District Attorney Raul Torrez dropped the bombshell that there was an unknown fourth suspect in the 10-year-old’s rape, murder and dismemberment inside her northwest Albuquerque apartment in August 2016.

In district court on Wednesday, there was confusion about how to go forward with John Doe’s case.

“This is so foreign. I’ve never quite dealt with anything like this,” Judge Jacqueline Flores said.

Since the state does not know to whom or where to send the summons, it filed a motion to publish ads in the paper as its way to let John Doe know the case is going forward.

However, before details of those ads could be worked out, the public defender’s office right away said it did not want any part in John Doe’s representation.

“Not appearing for the defense and I’ll have to elaborate,” public defender Christopher Knight said, arguing his office can’t defend a John Doe case because they don’t know enough about him or her.

“It’s a John Doe case. That’s problematic because we can only represent indigent clients. We have no idea if this person is indigent or not,” he added.

Judge Flores even questioned how the court could move forward.

“I just wanted to set this as a status. I have a motion for something that was pending,” she said. “It’s impossible for me to really work on this unless I have someone on the other side to argue and can respond.”

So, she ended the hearing without signing off on the state’s motion to publish those John Doe ads.

“Let’s vacate the setting, see if there’s something else I can do to get somebody in opposing council on board. And if I’m able to, then I’ll contact you,” Flores said.

The DA’s office said it’s now back to square one trying to figure out how to find John Doe.

It was at that June presser that DA Torrez said his office can’t use John Doe’s DNA to create a composite sketch of what he looks like as they have in past cases because it’s not a full DNA profile. 

Still, he said he is certain the suspect is involved in Martens’ death and her sexual assault because of where the DNA was found on her body.

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