One member of a trio of women accused of working together to sexually assault an inmate in a cell while looking for drugs at the Santa Fe County jail pleaded guilty to assault Monday.
Juanita Martinez, 44, of Santa Fe, pleaded guilty to a charge of felony aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony before state District Court Judge Stephen Pfeffer. The plea agreement was reduced from her original charges of false imprisonment and second-degree rape for the alleged attack.
Martinez was sentenced to 18 months for the attack. She has presentence confinement credit of more than 14 months. She will be released from jail Dec. 27 and will serve three months and 18 days on supervised probation. A habitual offender sentence enhancement for an earlier felony larceny conviction is held in abeyance under the deal.
Stephanie Pauly, who prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office, said state law allows co-conspirators to be charged with rape in cases like these, although Martinez did not actually penetrate the victim. That person is alleged to be Christina Sandoval, 38, of Albuquerque, who could stand trial for second-degree rape and false imprisonment in February.
Martinez and co-conspirator Veronica Martinez (no relation), 28, of Española, will be called to testify in that trial, Pauly said. Veronica Martinez pleaded to an aggravated assault charge in June, according to an online court records database.
Sheriff’s investigators alleged the victim was lured into a cell by the women one day in October 2011. Once she entered the cell, Juanita Martinez asked the victim for drugs and accused the woman of getting the other inmates high.
The woman said she did not have any drugs and tried to leave, but was pushed back and held in place while the others searched her person, including digitally penetrating her.