Immediately after 10-year-old Victoria Martens was killed in August 2016, her mother told police the little girl had ingested methamphetamine – either by accident or in order “to make her calm down” before she was raped and killed.
This turned out not to be true: an autopsy report showed Victoria had no drugs in her system and only trace amounts of ethanol, likely from decomposition.
With that in mind, the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque has now dismissed two of the charges against Jessica Kelley – the third defendant in the case.
She still faces 18 other counts, including rape, murder and tampering with evidence.
According to a motion filed by the prosecutor, when the case was indicted by a grand jury in September 2016, evidence suggested Victoria had been forced to ingest methamphetamine.
“Several of the charges are based on that information,” the motion reads. “Subsequent testing of V.M.’s blood has not shown the presence of controlled substances.”
On Wednesday, prosecutors filed documents dismissing two counts against Kelley, that of child abuse recklessly caused and conspiracy to commit child abuse (resulting in great bodily harm).
Late last month the district attorney dismissed the most serious charges against Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, and Martens’ boyfriend Fabian Gonzales. DA Raúl Torrez has said that their cellphones show that they were not at home during the time Victoria was killed and Martens made a “false admission” to police in her original statement.
Martens pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and faces between 12 and 15 years in prison. Gonzales still faces charges of child abuse resulting in death and tampering with evidence. His trial is supposed to start in October.
When asked why the charges alleging that the defendants had given Victoria meth weren’t dismissed as soon as the autopsy was completed, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office said they were getting the indictments against Martens and Gonzales in order first.
“We had to get the pleas done with Michelle Martens in order to have all of the other pieces in place in the amended indictment against Jessica,” Michael Patrick said.
He said he could not comment further due to the pending trials.