Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal
Fabian Gonzales, one of three people charged in the rape and murder of 10-year-old Victoria Martens, should have been under close supervision by the criminal justice system – or even possibly behind bars – at the time of the young girl’s death.
He was neither.
After pleading no contest in February 2015 to two felonies – abandonment of a child and battery on a household member – Gonzales was sentenced to two years of probation by 2nd Judicial District Judge Cristina Jaramillo.
But Gonzales never checked in with the probation and parole office, a violation that could have landed him behind bars, said Alex Sanchez, the deputy secretary of administration for the Department of Corrections. And a probation officer was never assigned to Gonzales, she said.
Officials from the 2nd Judicial District Court and state Corrections Department blamed each other for the error on Friday.
Court officials said they sent the required paperwork to the probation and parole office. Corrections officials said they never received the paperwork, which they said was emailed to an outdated address.
Either way, Jaramillo had sentenced Gonzales to two years of supervision and random drug tests and ordered him to attend substance abuse treatment and domestic violence counseling. None of that happened.
This week, Gonzales, 31, Jessica Kelley, 31, and 35-year-old Michelle Martens were arrested and charged with child abuse resulting in death and other offenses in connection to a horrific killing of a young girl.
Gonzales blamed the child’s death on Kelley in interviews with police and when he was surrounded by reporters outside the police station Downtown.
In the wake of the girl’s slaying, court and Corrections Department officials pored through their own records to find out who made the mistake in Gonzales’ earlier case.
Court officials released an email on Friday from February 2015 that was sent from the court to two Corrections Department email addresses that contained documents showing Gonzales had entered a plea agreement and was ordered to be on supervised probation for two years.
“We tried to figure out if they did receive it, and, based on what we found out, we think they did,” said Jim Noel, the executive officer of the 2nd Judicial District Court.
But Sanchez said one of those email accounts was shut down a month before the email was sent. The other email account was used internally within the Corrections Department to alert probation offices around the state when defendants were moving cities. The Journal emailed both on Friday. An email to one address bounced back and couldn’t be delivered, and the other email address didn’t respond.
Sanchez said police contacted the Corrections Department as part of its investigation into Gonzales’ background, which is when the department learned that it had never opened a case or assigned him to a probation officer.
“We could have been monitoring him,” Sanchez said. “But he still could have killed this child.”