Death of Albuquerque Child Sparks Death Penalty Debate

On Wednesday August 24, 2016, Albuquerque Police were called to Arroyo Villa Apartments in northwest Albuquerque on an aggravated battery call. First responders were on scene when they found 10-year-old Victoria Martens brutally murdered inside the apartment.

The three people involved in the case are Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens 35, her boyfriend Fabian Gonzales 31, and Gonzales’ cousin Jessica Kelley, 31. All three are now in police custody held at a $1-million-dollar bond.

According to the Albuquerque Police Department, Victoria was drugged with methamphetamine, sexually abused and repeatedly stabbed by Gonzales and Kelly while the mother watched. This heinous act of terror has sparked outrage amongst the state of New Mexico, that citizens are looking to public officials to respond to the problem of child and drug abuse, and to bring back the death penalty to New Mexico.

Family members and friends close to Victoria are shocked that this crime occurred. Michelle Martens was raising Victoria and her brother as a single mother while she was working at a supermarket deli. Martens even had Victoria in gymnastics, and Victoria did not seem like she would be a victim of this vicious attack.

Martens’ life turned upside down once she allowed her boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales into her and her daughter’s life. Gonzales and Kelley became predatory and maneuvered into Michelle Martens life because she seemed vulnerable at the time.

This murder is one of the most horrific acts the state has seen, but what is the state going to do ensure that another Victoria Martens is not killed? Many New Mexicans and public officials are proposing the idea of bringing back the death penalty to New Mexico.

Would having the death penalty prevent more crime from happening, or would the process of bringing back the law be too lengthy and costly?

As New Mexicans, we can spark change by bringing this important issue of child welfare to our representatives and lawmakers.

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