ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It is key evidence in the trial of Fabian Gonzales, pinpointing exactly where the defendant was and what he was doing in the days and hours leading up to Victoria Martens’ murder. As the trial entered its second week, prosecutors provided an exhaustive description of Gonzales’ cell phone records Monday.
Gonzales is facing one count of reckless child abuse resulting in death and several charges related to evidence tampering in the August 2016 death of Victoria Martens. Prosecutors allege Gonzales created a dangerous environment that lead to the 10-year-old girl’s death, and that he helped Jessica Kelley in an effort to conceal the death. Defense attorneys argue Gonzales’ cousin, Jessica Kelley is solely to blame.
In day five of proceedings, the prosecution started the day by calling APD Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock to the stand. Hartsock leads APD’s Criminal Investigations Division and helped conduct the forensic analysis of Gonzales’, Martens’ and Kelley’s cell phones.
That data, first discussed by the Bernalillo County DIstrict Attorney in 2018, lead to prosecutors changing the charges in the case. Monday, Hartsock presented GPS data showing that Fabian Gonzales and Michelle Martens weren’t home at the time Victoria was killed, around 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.
That data also shows Jessica Kelley was at the home when Victoria was killed. Last week Kelley testified that she was high on meth and paranoid the day Victoria was killed, and spent the entire day in the apartment. Kelley contends that an unknown man walked into the apartment and strangled Victoria to death.
“[Kelley’s] phone is moving all around the city every single day until the 23rd, and this is where we talked about anomalies and looking for patterns of changing behavior,” Hartsock said. “On the 23rd, her phone just sticks on the tower, and it doesn’t move the entire day until police arrive and take her phone the following morning.
Prosecutors worked to paint a picture of the alleged danger Gonzales brought to the Martens’ home in the week and hours leading to Victoria’s murder. In doing so, they asked Hartsock read text messages from Gonzales, Martens and Kelley’s cell phones Monday. One of the exchanges highlighted an argument Fabian Gonzales had with his cousin following a fight at a BBQ days before Victoria was killed.
In the hours before Victoria’s death, prosecutors presented evidence of a neighbor text messaging Michelle Martens that Victoria was home from school and “trying to reach” Michelle. That same neighbor soon after messaged, “OK, she went home, I guess someone is there now.” Possibly trying to establish negligence, prosecutors pointed out that Fabian and Michelle didn’t send any further messages to Jessica on the event of Victoria’s death, after Michelle was told Victoria was inside the home.
Cell phone location data from Google shows Michelle Martens and Gonzales a half-hour away from the apartment at Gonzales’ relative’s house when Victoria was killed. Meanwhile, Kelley remained at the apartment, where Victoria was.
From the data and testimony, it’s known that Jessica Kelley was the only one at the Martens’ apartment the night Victoria was killed. However, Kelley maintains an unknown male came looking for Gonzales and strangled Victoria.
Monica Ramirez Rivera, who was visiting her sister, a neighbor to Michelle Martens, was also called to testify Monday. Staying at a neighboring apartment on the night of the murder, she told the jury she remembers talking to Victoria about her birthday party that day. She also says later that night she saw Jessica Kelley carrying Victoria’s limp body down the apartment stairs.
“She looked asleep in a sense but when her arm went out like that I told my sister that there was something wrong, that she wasn’t asleep,” said Ramirez Rivera. “You know she looked … my exact words were she looks drugged or you know not alive.”
In the first three days of the trial, prosecutors called two Albuquerque Police officers who worked the case, Fabian’s cousin Jessica Kelley, first responding paramedics, relatives of Kelley and Gonzales and former neighbors of Michelle and Victoria Martens.
2nd Judicial District Court Judge Cindy Leos is overseeing the trial. Defense attorneys Stephen Aarons and Hugh Dangler are representing Gonzales in the case. The prosecution is being led by Greer Staley and James Grayson, both of whom are deputy district attorneys with the Bernalillo County DA’s Office. The state is seeking to convict Gonzales of child abuse resulting in death, evidence tampering and conspiracy to tamper with evidence.