El Paso Jury Rejects the Death Penalty for Christian Martinez

In the first Texas death penalty trial of 2014, an El Paso County jury has determined that Christian Martinez should spend the rest of his life in prison for the 2011 murders of Amalia Flores, 58, and her daughter Jovana Flores, 20. Ten of the twelve jurors agreed that mitigating evidence warranted a sentence other than death.

Martinez was convicted of capital murder last week.  According to the El Paso Times, his attorneys argued prosecutors didn’t provide sufficient evidence that Martinez would be a future danger to society (“Sentencing deliberations resume today in Christian Martinez trial,” February 5, 2014), though jurors disagreed, answering yes to the question of future dangerousness.

Over the last six years, death-qualified juries have rejected the death penalty in more than 20 capital murder trials in Texas.  The last person to be sentenced to death in El Paso County was Fabian Hernandez, convicted in 2009 of the murders of Renee Urbina Hernandez, 28, and Arthur Lee Fonseca, 24.

Read more about the Christian Martinez trial from the El Paso Times.