ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – The 19-year-old who pleaded guilty to murdering a Pojoaque teen was sentenced on Wednesday, Mar. 8. The killer is someone who’s been in the news plenty – Abram Martinez was the Española high school student tased outside of his principal’s office by a deputy in 2019. The case led to a seven-figure settlement for the teen.

Martinez went before a judge to learn his fate after pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of Isaiah Herrera in February 2021. At the sentencing, Judge Glenn Ellington said, “Under the terms of your agreement the court imposes a sentence of 15 years.”

Herrera’s aunt addressed the court at sentencing. “On February 4 this was the worst day of my life. I not only got a call that my nephew was missing but hours later I had to identify his lifeless body in a body bag,” she said. 

Police found messages between Herrera and Martinez setting up a marijuana deal. Herrera was later found shot to death along a road in Nambe. Surveillance video captured a car at the crime scene later connected to Martinez’s mother. Police say Martinez’s mother put a GPS tracker on the car to keep tabs on her then-17-year-old son who was on juvenile probation.

This evidence helped tie Martinez to the murder, but his defense attorney argued in court Martinez wasn’t the shooter. He told the judge, “One of the co-defendants told us in a pretrial interview just a month ago that it was in fact not Mr. Martinez who shot and killed Isaiah Herrera but his co-defendant.”

Prosecutors in the case say Martinez was the 15-year-old with behavioral issues tased by a deputy at Española Valley High School in 2019. Martinez’s lawyer in a lawsuit over the tasing says the murder is a tragedy for everyone involved. Shannon Kennedy shared, “It breaks my heart that Abram wasn’t able to overcome. I think that all through New Mexico there’s so much violence involving youth both in the public schools and outside of school and we know as a culture that violence begets violence.”

In a settlement, Rio Arriba County and Española Public Schools agreed to pay the family about $1.3 million. Martinez was set to receive $375,000 of it when he turned 21 but his 15-year sentence is going to put that on hold. “I appreciate the justice system, I mean we have a justice system that held accountable the man who had hurt Abram and now Abram has been held accountable,” Kennedy continued. 

When Abram Martinez gets out of prison he’ll also collect $1,000 to $2,000 a month from the settlement until he’s almost 70-years-old. Online court records also show Martinez fathered a child while he was out on juvenile probation.