Prosecutor on mom accused of killing family: I've never worked a case like this

He says he's never seen something so heinous

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- The man who will be prosecuting Isabel Martinez, the Loganville mother accused of murdering her family, says this is the most heinous crime he's ever worked.

"I've been doing this almost 20 years and I haven't had this type of case," said Gwinnett County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney, Richard Vandever. "I don't think there's a lot of them around."

Police say on Thursday morning Martinez, described as a "devoted" mother, stabbed and killed her husband and four of her kids. Only 9-year-old Diana Romero survived the attack, and she is recovering at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

Friday, Gwinnett Police tweeted that the little girl is alert and speaking. They say she's surrounded by loving family members.

 

 

Vandever says his office has not yet decided if they will be pursuing the death penalty. "(It's) Way, way, way too early," he told 11Alive's Ryan Kruger exclusively Friday. "There's a lot of information we got to follow up on."

Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed Martinez is in the country illegally. Right now, she's being held in the Gwinnett County jail on hold for ICE. But Vandever says she's not going anywhere.

"If she is still in the custody of our jail, still in the custody of Gwinnett County, she will remain in our custody until she is let out on bond or released from custody," he said.

Considering the charges she's facing, Martinez isn't likely to receive bond.

If she is eventually tried and convicted, Vandever says it's then up to the state and immigration to sort out what will happen to her.

During her first court appearance on Friday, Martinez displayed unusual behavior. She gave a thumbs-up to the television cameras in attendance. At one point in time she spread her arms open wide then bent down in a praying motion.

Judge Michael Thorpe eventually told her to stop.

Speaking through an interpreter she told a judge that the people and her faith will be her attorneys. The judge says he'll let Martinez act as her own attorney but he might appoint an attorney to offer guidance.

Word of her unusual behavior spread to Vandever. He expects a motion from the defense questioning Martinez's mental health.

"She'll be evaluated and whatever comes out of that is how we'll proceed," Vandever said.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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