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Suspect in Victoria Martens case hires a new lawyer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Fabian Gonzales has hired a new lawyer just six weeks before he is set for trial on charges connected to the death of Victoria Martens, according to a news release.

Fabian Gonzales

Santa Fe attorney Steve Aarons announced late Tuesday that he had “hit the ground running” in the case and plans to file a motion seeking to dismiss the charge of child abuse resulting in death against Gonzales. In an interview Thursday, Aarons said he does not plan to ask for a delay in the case.

Contract public defense attorney Tom Clark had been representing Gonzales since September 2016.

In a motion to substitute counsel, Aarons said that Gonzales’ parents hired him, and Gonzales “no longer wishes to be represented by Mr. Clark in these proceedings.” A hearing on the motion is set for Monday.

Gonzales initially faced murder and rape charges, but those counts were dismissed after prosecutors announced that Gonzales wasn’t at the apartment when 10-year-old Victoria was killed.

Victoria’s mother, Michelle, pleaded guilty in June to child abuse resulting in death. Gonzales’ cousin, Jessica Kelley, and an unknown man are facing murder charges in the case.

Gonzales’ trial is set to begin Oct. 15.

A spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the motion.