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Judge finds cause for charges in 2012 shooting death in Alcalde

SANTA FE — A Santa Fe district ruled Friday that there is enough evidence to bring first-degree murder charges against an Alcalde woman in a case that’s more than four years old.

Kaiwee Martinez, 39, was initially charged with an open count of murder by the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office for fatally shooting 33-year-old Lawrence Sandoval, of Taos, in the bedroom of her Alcalde home on Nov. 3, 2012.

But the day after those charges were filed then-District Attorney Angela “Spence” Pacheco dismissed them, saying more information was needed to complete the investigation.

“After we took another look, we determined that it should have a probable cause hearing,” Marco Serna, the current DA, said on Friday.

After hearing witness testimony this week, District Judge Jennifer Attrep determined there was sufficient probable cause to bring the case to trial. Serna said the trial will likely begin in December.

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Martinez’s attorney, Aaron Boland, believes his client will prevail at trial. “This is a straightforward case of self defense,” he said.

Martinez told investigators that Sandoval had been harassing her at a casino the night before the shooting and the next morning broke into her home, threatened her with a knife and demanded that she remove her clothes. When she ran into her bedroom Sandoval followed, pushed her onto the bed and laid on top of her, she said. Martinez said she grabbed a handgun she kept under her pillow and shot Sandoval dead.

Investigators doubted her story from the beginning. For one, Martinez said she shot Sandoval while he was on top of her, but he was shot in the back of the head. She also said that Sandoval had been harassing her at a casino the night before the shooting, but surveillance video showed the two were being intimate with each other and that they left the casino together.

Investigators say Martinez later changed her story to say that after leaving the casino she dropped Sandoval off on the side of the road while on her way home.

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