Judge denies venue change but separates trials for suspects in Victoria Martens’ case

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County District Court Judge Charles Brown has denied the change of venue for the three people accused of killing 10-year-old Victoria Martens. Judge Brown also ordered the trial to be severed. This means Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, her boyfriend Fabian Gonzales, and his cousin Jessica Kelly will serve in three separate trials.

Police recently recovered a smartphone that Michelle Martens sold and a laptop Gonzales pawned weeks before Victoria was murdered. The state filed a motion to allow the search of those materials, but that was not discussed in court on Tuesday morning.

The dates of the trials remain unknown because Judge Brown said discovery needs to be completed and motions need to be filed and heard before that determination can be made. Defense attorneys and the state had estimated that the trials couldn’t begin until sometime in 2018.

Defense attorneys were concerned that not being able to move the trials to a different venue outside of Bernalillo County might hurt their cases. Judge Brown said he was still confident that a fair jury could be found for each trial, but if not, then moving it would be considered.

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