Aug. 20, 2017
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"If I was trying to kill you, I would have"

And other stories from Santa Fe’s domestic violence epidemic

August 5, 2009, 12:00 am

Wearing no pants, Patrick Martinez answered the door of his mother’s home in Santa Cruz. New Mexico State Police Officer Marco Oviedo stood on the other side, full of questions.

Martinez, a stocky man with a spade symbol tattooed on his throat, told the police officer he’d been at his mom’s all night. Oviedo had reason to believe otherwise, according to his report. The officer was looking for a .38 Special, which Martinez’ pretty young wife said had been pressed into her flesh only hours before, on the night of Sept. 30, 2008.

That conversation took place at Presbyterian Española Hospital, where a doctor said the woman had 14 staples in her head and bad bruises on her right side. Martinez had beaten her before, she told Oviedo, but she’d never reported it. Once, he’d broken teeth. This time was worse.

They had left Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino at approximately 8:30 pm, she told Oviedo. For some reason, Martinez was angry and began beating her head and ribs as she struggled to keep the car on the road.

When they got home, her head was bleeding. She planned to let him exit the car first, then flee—but Martinez grabbed the keys as soon as she put it in park.

Plan B: Pretend everything was OK. As his wife cleaned up, Martinez steamed. He wanted to ride away on his motorcycle, but couldn’t find the keys.

Obviously, his wife must have hidden them. So he grabbed the .38, pointed it at her head and threatened to kill her.

When that didn’t work, he put the gun into her mouth.

She broke down, sobbing. She promised to find the keys; she looked all over the house. Maybe they were in the car?

The ruse worked. She drove to her mother’s house.

Martinez called around all night, looking for his wife. In his mind, she “deserved it” because “she knew how to press all his buttons,” Martinez told his mother-in-law, according to Oviedo’s report.

Officer Oviedo searched the Martinez house. He didn’t find the .38, nor did he find the rifle allegedly kept under the bed. Oviedo believed Martinez hid the guns, according to his report. Sitting in the patrol car after his arrest that night, Martinez said “he never had any guns because he was not allowed to because of his history,” Oviedo wrote.

That history includes a 2006 guilty plea to battery against a household member, from a previous relationship. But Martinez denies the current allegations against him.

The prior conviction should have precluded Martinez from owning firearms. Oviedo’s report says the .38 belonged to the victim’s mother. If she gave it to him, she may also have committed a crime. Of course, Martinez might have stolen the gun.

How to prove it, either way?

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Patrick Martinez allegedly put a gun in his wife’s mouth. They are now divorced.

The divorce became final July 13. On July 24, Martinez’ ex-wife and her parents waited nervously outside Judge Vigil’s courtroom with Potter, the victim advocate.

Fighting tears, the victim tells SFR Martinez wasn’t always violent. She wanted to work it out. Her parents wanted otherwise. “He’ll just beg and beg and plead with her. That’s why she stayed,” the mother says.

Inside the courtroom, Martinez’ three boys from another mother watch as he’s escorted toward the bench. When the victim finally enters, Martinez steals a glance.

The hearing is to determine whether Martinez broke a no-contact order with his ex and should remain on GPS monitoring, Deputy District Attorney Lara Sundermann says. But Public Defender Sydney West argues the victim also contacted Martinez—implying any violation of the order wasn’t his fault. Adding further confusion, the victim’s mother says Martinez stole her daughter’s cell phone after his release from jail and sent threats to all the contacts.

Judge Vigil is clearly frustrated. “Somebody’s lying to me and I’m going to find out who,” he says, before ordering Martinez back to jail.

In the hall, the prosecutor confers with the victim and her family. “Honestly, I’m a little surprised the judge put him in jail today,” Sundermann tells them.

Eventually, of course, he’ll get out.

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