ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Taking the stand for the third day in a row, Jessica Kelley completed testimony Friday afternoon in the trial of Fabian Gonzales, tied to the 2016 killing of Victoria Martens. Gonzales is, in part, accused of reckless child abuse resulting in the death of a 10-year-old girl’s August 2016 murder.
Following the conclusion of Kelley’s testimony, prosecutors called six additional witnesses to the stand Friday, including relatives of Jessica Kelley, the first paramedics to respond to the crime scene and several former neighbors of Victoria and Michelle Martens. Testimony is expected to continue Monday at 9 a.m. into the fourth day of the trial that’s likely to last for an additional two weeks.
Jessica Kelley finishes testimony
Friday’s testimony started with Kelley taking the stand, continuing to answer questions for Gonzales’ defense attorneys in cross-examination. Attorneys for Gonzales have argued that Kelley is solely responsible for Victoria’s murder and dismemberment.
Kelley claims an unidentified man walked into the apartment and strangled Victoria to get revenge on Gonzales. Kelley says the stranger told her that “Favo” had messed up, that he knew what he did, and that Kelley and Gonzales needed to “clean up the mess” or else Kelley and her family would “be next.”
Friday, Gonzales’ defense attorney Stephen Aarons accused Kelley of making up the story that an unknown man killed Victoria, suggesting that Kelley did it because she wanted a plea deal, like Michelle Martens received in June 2018. Kelley refuted the suggestion in her cross-examination.
“No, that wasn’t my thinking at all,” Kelley said. “Honestly, I was going to take this to full trial because I wanted to sit here and do this,” referring to answering questions from attorneys.
Prosecutors are trying to prove that Gonzales helped attempt to dispose of Victoria’s body when he and Michelle Martens got home later in the evening, after Victoria’s murder. Along with evidence tampering charges, Gonzales is charged with reckless child abuse resulting in death, accused of bringing Kelley, his cousin, and her drug-using lifestyle into Victoria’s home. Prosecutors and defense attorneys have established Kelley used drugs several times in the days leading up to Victoria’s murder.
Following Kelley’s cross-examination, prosecutors introduced more evidence to the jury Friday, related to statements Kelley made before and after the murder. The evidence included several recordings of phone calls she made to people, including her mother. Kelley was later asked by prosecutors why she didn’t tell police what happened at the scene. Instead, that day she jumped off the balcony.
“Honestly, I just got scared and ran,” Kelley testified. “I didn’t even think, honestly.”
Kelley has admitted to trying to dispose of the body and setting it on fire. At one point, Kelley said if she could trade places with Victoria she would.
Gonzales claims there’s no stranger and that Kelley strangled Victoria and acted alone in trying to get rid of the body. He says he didn’t even know about Victoria’s murder until after the police arrived.
Kelley has already been sentenced to 44 years in the case. However, she’ll only have to serve half of that if she gets full credit for good time.
Six more witnesses testify
The end of day three’s proceedings included testimony from relatives of Jessica Kelley and Fabian Gonzales, neighbors of the Martens apartment, and two paramedics who first responded to the scene. The first person to follow Kelley’s testimony was David Chavez, a man referred to as “Uncle David” to Kelley and Gonzales.
Chavez recounted a story in the days before Victoria’s murder where he attempted to get a PIN passcode from Kelley, who had sold him an EBT card. Chavez said Kelley refused to give him the passcode in what he described as a conversation that “freaked him out.”
“She told me that she couldn’t give me the PIN, and I asked her why, and she told me that the devil said not to give me the pin,” Chavez said. “I freaked out, just weirded out [by the comment.]”
Chavez said after the interaction with Kelley over the phone, he later saw Michelle Martens and Fabian Gonzales in person. Chavez said he warned them about Kelley’s demeanor.
“I think [Fabian] mentioned something about Jessica being at the house, and I told [Fabian and Michelle] she was acting weird, to get [Kelley] out of there,” Chavez said. “Just to stay away from her, she just didn’t sound right to me.”
A few former neighbors to the Martens apartment also testified in the case Friday. Vanessa Apodaca described a “sudden change” in what was happening in the apartment once Gonzales moved in.
A second neighbor, Sabrina Padilla testified to the change she noticed when Gonzales moved in. Before, Padilla testified the Martens apartment was “quiet” and like a “nor mal home.” Michelle lived with Victoria, 10, and her younger son.
“She would go to work, come home, it was quiet, after 10-o-clock, there weren’t footsteps, there was no music, it was quiet,” Padilla said of the home before Gonzales moved in. “[After Gonzales moved in] They were up all hours of the night, the music was going, just in and out on the balcony, talking, partying.”
Padilla was ultimately the last person other than Kelley to see Victoria alive. Prosecutors asked her about the final interaction.
“She was excited and she had gotten a new kitten and she wanted to show us her kitten,” Padilla said, tearing up. “Victoria went inside to get her kitten and then she never came back out. And, Jessica followed inside.”