Judge denies Jessica Kelley’s plea deal for second time

Crime

On Tuesday, Judge Charles Brown denied a plea deal for Jessica Kelley, a suspect in the murder of Victoria Martens.

Judge Brown didn’t waste any time denying the plea deal for the second time in two weeks, saying the only reason he decided to hold a hearing Tuesday was to lecture prosecutors.

Kelley intended to plead to child abuse resulting in death, aggravated battery and tampering with evidence in 10-year-old Victoria Martens’ death.

In return, she’d get 49 years.

Two years ago, Victoria’s body was found mutilated in a westside Albuquerque apartment.

Kelley, her cousin Fabian Gonzales, and Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, were all charged.

Just two weeks ago, the state tried to get Judge Brown to sign off on the surprise plea deal, but when he asked Kelley to explain in her own words what happened, he rejected the deal.

He argued Kelley couldn’t have foreseen an unknown man walking into the apartment and then strangling Victoria in her bedroom.

That forced the state to file a motion to reconsider, which the judge heard Tuesday.

However, instead of allowing the state to argue its case, Judge Brown quickly denied the motion and then lectured prosecutors.

“I could have ruled on this matter on the proceeding without a hearing. I didn’t because I wanted to address a couple of factual misstatements in the state motion,” said Judge Brown.

“I think it’s particularly concerning that we were not allowed to offer our factual basis in the first hearing, then we’re not allowed to again make a record today,” said District Attorney Raul Torrez.

District Attorney Raul Torrez spoke with reporters shortly after the hearing saying his office is disappointed in Tuesday’s outcome, and that the decision could hinder the prosecution of Fabian Gonzales. 

The DA’s office says now that Kelley’s plea deal was denied and she will not serve as a witness against Gonzales at his trial that’s slated to begin Oct. 15.

The DA says there isn’t another plea deal in the works for Kelley, and she will go on trial in January.

Michelle Martens has already pled guilty to one count of child abuse resulting in death.

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