Did arrest warrant for murder in 2 year old's death lead to mass murder in Modesto? State of CA vs. Martin Martinez
Dr. Amanda Crews led a busy life. She was a physician in Modesto and the mother of two young children. When she left her 2 year old son Christopher in the care of boyfriend Martin "Marty" Martinez, she couldn't have imagined the child would be in danger. After all, she was just going to pick up her daughter. Before she left, she reportedly asked Martinez to change Christopher's diaper. The date was September 30, 2014. When Crews returned, Christopher had suffered a head injury and was rushed to the hospital where he died on October 2, 2014.
Martin Martinez gave police and doctors different accounts of how Christopher got the injury. Although initially ruled an accidental death, Crews allegedly assisted Martinez in retaining attorney Steve Foley. It must have been difficult for Dr. Crews to imagine Martin purposely harming her child. But she was a doctor - she had to have had questions in the back of her mind that began to plague her. Christopher's biological father Timothy Ridley always believed Martinez had more culpability in his son's death than he admitted. He grew concerned about his young daughter being in her mother's home with Martinez. Apparently CPS had their concerns as well, because he was forced to move out of the home while the death was investigated further.
As we have come to realize, the wheels of justice sometimes move slowly. After the death of Christopher, Amanda Crews and Martin Martinez ended up having a daughter together - they named her Rachel. It is impossible for anyone to predict was about to happen to this family but it's sure to haunt everyone who knew Dr. Crews and Martin Martinez and their friends and families.
On July 18, 2015, police were called to the Nob Hill Court home of Dr. Crews to conduct a welfare check after she and her daughter failed to show up at a planned outing with friends. The bodies of 5 people were found dead inside the home. Among the victims: 38 year old Amanda Crews, 6 month old Rachel Martinez, 6 year old Elizabeth Crews, 57 year old Anna Brown Romero (Martin Martinez's mother) and Martinez's 5 year old niece Esmerelda. Very few details about the time of death, the crime scene or evidence has been released by the police. Through public court documents we can see that a knife was used in the commission of the murder of Amanda Crews and Anna Brown Romero. The young children were likely easier to subdue - their cause of death has not been released.
I have so many questions about this mass murder. Why did this happen? What evidence do they have that Martinez is the killer? If he is, how did he gain entry to the home, did he still have a key to the house? Did Amanda Crews let him inside, despite the protective order for him to stay away? How was one man able to subdue this many people, although only two were adults? Did Martinez have one target in mind and the rest of the victims were witnesses he had to get rid of? How could he kill his own 6 month old daughter and his own mother? This is mind boggling. Was Martinez aware he was about to be arrested and charged with the murder of Christopher?
A news article relating to this case says that Amanda Crews actually hired Steve Foley to represent the man who would eventually be charged with killing her and her children. At a 2015 court hearing, Martinez and Foley filed paperwork with the court seeking to have Foley remain on as Martinez's attorney despite the fact he could no longer afford his services. Don't most defendants end up claiming to be "indigent" once a case like this goes forward? It's eerie that in the document arguing for Foley to remain as Martinez's attorney, one of the reasons argued is that Foley had already interviewed many witnesses in this case, "some of which are now deceased". They are referring to Amanda Crews and perhaps Elizabeth Crews and Martinez's own mother.
It appears the court ruled against the request to retain Foley as his defense attorney. Foley may very well be called as a witness when Martinez goes to trial and this would be a huge conflict of interest. Instead, a public defender has been assigned to represent Martinez. He will need a good attorney. He is facing a total of 6 counts of first degree murder in addition to child abuse against Christopher Ridley. Special circumstances involving the use of the knife and lying in wait for the 5 Nob Hill Court victims are outlined in the charging document.
This is potentially a death penalty case. The preliminary hearing is slated for August 21, 2017. The state must have solid direct or a mountain of circumstantial evidence to have arrested him and brought the murder charges forward so quickly.