Prosecution says Christian Martinez's blood places him at double-murder crime scene
Updated On: Feb 19 2014 11:17:45 AM CST
Editor's note: This story corrects the judge's comments. 210th District Court Judge Gonzalo Garcia said, "It can be said that any person who kills another individual is not in a right state of mind." ABC-7 originally reported that he said only, "Any person who kills another individual is not in a right state of mind."
DNA test results presented Friday in the capital murder trial of Christian Martinez put him at the crime scene, according to lab reports.
Martinez, 24, is accused of stabbing two women to death in January 2011. El Paso Police said he followed 20-year-old Jovana Flores home from her jog on the East Side and then stabbed Flores and her 58-year-old mother Amalia more than 100 times.
The state crime lab found Martinez's blood all over the single story home, including the sun room, two bedrooms, on Jovana's left running shoe, the kitchen sink faucet, and the handle of a knife from the kitchen. Reports showed blood from both women on the blade of that knife.
The defense seemed to be trying to poke holes in the lab results. Attorneys expressed concern about the pool of blood in the master bedroom. That's where Martinez apparently tried to saw his left wrist off after he stabbed the women, according to police. Analysts did find Martinez's blood on the knife near the pool, which could help with an insanity plea. But blood from the pool itself never went to the state crime lab for testing.
Defense attorney Jaime Gandara noted Texas law requiring the state to test all available evidence before bringing a death sentence.
"Not to test mitigating evidence is a violation of due process," Gandara told the judge. "Because that puddle was not tested, the jury is deprived of mitigating information proving ... (Martinez's) mind was not right."
210th District Court Judge Gonzalo Garcia responded, "It can be said that any person who kills another individual is not in a right state of mind."
Lab analyst Nicolaus Ronquillo testified that providing free testing for a variety of agencies is expensive.
"There are cases in which the agency submitting evidence submitted too many items," Ronquillo said. "It's policy to only test 10 items at a time. If it exceeds that, we do not test those items."
A reconstructive hand surgeon testified Friday -- he took six hours operating on Martinez's arm. He said the defendant was recovering from shock and resuscitation at the time. Martinez had cut through the main arteries, tendons and nerves in his left forearm. That left him with no feeling or motion -- the only thing keeping his hand attached to his arm was bone.
Dr. Jose Monsivais compared Martinez's severed nerves to those of Jesus nailed to a cross.
"They produce some of the most painful symptoms that we have in clinical medicine," Monsivais testified. "Romans designed crucifixion in that manner."
He went on to describe his interactions with Martinez in 2011.
"He had an old laceration that he stated he inflicted on himself," Monsivais said. "He stated several times that he wished to commit suicide. He also stated that he wished he had been shot dead at the scene."
Jurors also saw disturbing pictures Friday of the two bodies. The medical examiner spoke of holes in major arteries and organs. The jury then saw pictures of Jovana's chest cavity completely opened up. They revealed slices in the actual spine, lungs, heart and jugular.
The jury of mostly middle-aged men and women scowled but remained intent.
Martinez showed little emotion Friday. Defense attorney Joe Spencer tried to shake his hand after court adjourned. Martinez didn't acknowledge him.
The state rested its case Friday. The defense began arguing Friday afternoon and will continue Monday at 9 a.m.
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