ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Fabian Gonzales has been sentenced to 37.5 years behind bars, the maximum sentence, for his role in the death of Victoria Martens. The sentence came after an emotional day in court and eight years after the crime.
The sentence, 37.5 years, is for allowing Victoria’s death to happen, dismembering the body, and trying to cover up the crime. But, with good time, Gonzales might only have to serve half of that sentence.
“I don’t blame the jury for what they did,” said defense attorney, Hugh Dangler. “My client still says he didn’t do those things,” Dangler told us Thursday, moments after the sentencing.
Thursday, Judge Cindy Leos ruled that two of the tampering charges might present double jeopardy, so she combined those into one sentence to avoid legal issues, which resulted in 37.5 years. With good time and nearly four years of credit time served, Gonzales could be out in 17 years.
Gonzales was convicted of reckless child abuse resulting in death for putting Victoria in a position that caused her death in a northwest Albuquerque apartment on August 23, 2016. His cousin, Jessica Kelley, and Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, also participated.
Thursday morning in court, the state asked Judge Cindy Leos to classify the child abuse charge as a serious violent offense saying without Fabian, Victoria would still be alive today. That destination would ensure that he has to serve at least 85% of that sentence instead of 50%.
Judge Cindy Leos also felt the state failed to meet the burden of proof that Gonzales acted violently, pointing to the fact that he was not in the apartment at the time of the murder.
Thursday, Judge Cindy Leos also heard from Victoria’s grandfather. “We no longer hear her say papa I love you. Nana, I love you. We won’t hear papa, nana can you take me to gymnastics or papa I’m 16, can you teach me to drive? How about graduation? There will be none. Or most of all… papa can you walk me down the isle? So you’re honor, we ask that you impose the max sentence because Victoria will not get the max out of her life that she should have been entitled to,” said John Martens, Victoria’s grandfather.
Gonzales’s attorney argued that he has turned his life around and deserved a lesser sentence. They also asked that he get credit for time served while on an ankle monitor. However, the judge denied that request. Judge Cindy Leos said his life on that monitor was not restrictive enough to meet the pre-sentence confinement requirement.
Jessica Kelley has already been sentenced to 44 years in prison for her involvement in the case.