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Minimal movement in Christian Martinez murder trial

Published On: Jan 28 2014 01:00:01 PM CST
Updated On: Jun 14 2014 12:32:56 PM CDT
EL PASO, Texas -

At the County Courthouse Monday, the capital murder trial of Christian Martinez only heard from one defense witness, in a day otherwise bogged down in procedural hearings. In total, the jury heard about an hour of testimony.

Martinez is accused of stabbing two women to death in 2011. Police say he saw Jovana Flores jogging on the street, followed her home and then killed her and her mother in their home, before trying to take his own life.

Psychologist Dr. James Schutte was the only witness the defense was able to call to the stand. Schutte briefly talked about the tests and evaluations performed over the past three years on Martinez. The jury was able to hear his diagnosis of Martinez as mentally retarded and suffering from schizo-affective disorder.

There were serious delays in the testimony in the morning and afternoon. The prosecution raised objections to Schutte bringing up other psychologist tests and findings. The subsequent discussion caused presiding Judge Gonzalo Garcia to remove the jury from the courtroom. The judge then moved to a 'gatekeeping' hearing, which took several hours as the judge evaluated the experts testimony before allowing the jury to hear it.

     The jury was also excused for a similar hearing the same morning, as family members of Martinez were interviewed by the judge, prosecution and defense. Jesse and Vivian Martinez, Christian's half brother and sister, as well as friend Victor Cantu and Christian's mother Guadalupe Martinez. They answered questions about the time they spent over the years with Christian, with the defense working towards clearing them to tell the jury about the changes they saw in Christian, and contribute to the insanity defense.

Jesse in particular laid out a troubled home scene, talking about the physical and verbal abuse at the hands of his and Christian's father, and what he feared Christian was subjected to in subsequent years. Jesse said he suffered "serious brusies, broke his jaw and some ribs," and that Chrstian, ten years old at the time, witnessed the abuse.

Ultimately, Judge Gonzalo Garcia ruled all of the possible family testimony as not relevant to the insanity defense, due to lack of long periods of interaction and observation of Martinez

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