Girl's killing prompts state review of probation - Albuquerque Journal

Girl’s killing prompts state review of probation

New Mexico Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel
New Mexico Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel

Corrections officials have launched a review to see if a mistake that allowed a now-murder suspect to skirt two years of supervised probation was an isolated incident or part of a bigger problem.

The review was prompted by the revelation that Fabian Gonzales, one of three suspects charged in last week’s brutal rape and murder of 10-year-old Victoria Martens, should have been on supervised probation, but wasn’t, when the girl was killed in her Albuquerque apartment.

Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel said in a letter sent Tuesday to James Noel, the executive officer of the 2nd Judicial District Court, that Marcantel had instructed his staff to review probation records from Jan. 1, 2015, through the present to see if people sentenced to probation avoided serving their sentence.

“We’re double-checking everything,” said Alex Sanchez, the deputy secretary of administration for corrections. “But at this point we haven’t identified any others.”

Sanchez has said the Corrections Department never received the paperwork notifying it that Gonzales, 31, had been sentenced to supervised probation. Court officials say they sent the information.

Gonzales in February 2015 was sentenced by 2nd Judicial District Judge Cristina Jaramillo to two years of probation as part of a plea agreement for domestic violence and child abandonment. Phil Sisneros, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors didn’t seek or recommend jail time because they were having trouble locating the primary witness and the child was not injured.

“Given that it was doubtful the named victim and independent witness would be located, securing a conviction at trial was highly unlikely,” he said in an email. “The State agreed to probation in order to have the defendant supervised and attend counseling and treatment since jail would be unlikely through the trial process.”

The probation would have included random home visits by his probation officer and drug tests, as well as counseling and drug and alcohol treatment, none of which happened, Sanchez said.

Corrections officials said they didn’t know the sentence had been handed down, and Gonzales never reported to the probation office. A probation officer was never assigned to Gonzales.

Last Wednesday, police said Gonzales raped and killed Martens and he was arrested on suspicion of criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13, child abuse resulting in death, kidnapping and other charges. Gonzales’ cousin, Jessica Kelley, 31, and Gonzales’ girlfriend, Michelle Martens, Victoria’s mother, have also been charged with crimes in connection to the girl’s death.

Tim Korte, a spokesman for the 2nd Judicial District Court, said the court emailed the Corrections Department the sentencing documents for Gonzales and about two dozen other inmates several days after the sentences were handed down last year.

He said the court had used the same procedures to alert the Corrections Department that someone was sentenced to probation from 2012 through June 2015, when the courts shifted to a different system.

But corrections officials said the email address that the court sent the information to had been turned off a month earlier.

“We are very, very confident we never received (information) that the email had been taken out of service,” Korte said.

Marcantel specifically asked the court to resend all the documents they had sent to the outdated email address.

He said in the letter to Noel that human error will “always be a factor to confront” and that corrections and the court need to collaborate, echoing statements Noel made in a prior letter to Marcantel.

“The DOC and Court Administration now need to work together to maintain public confidence in the operations of its government,” Noel told Marcantel earlier this week.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » Girl’s killing prompts state review of probation

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Police ID man shot in foot by officers during ...
ABQnews Seeker
Police have identified the armed man ... Police have identified the armed man who officers shot at — putting a bullet in his foot — before using a Taser to detain ...
2
Flix Brewhouse video shows man entering theater kitchen with ...
ABQnews Seeker
Security video from Flix Brewhouse last ... Security video from Flix Brewhouse last week shows a man carrying a firearm into the theater's kitchen, where employees confront him and wrestle the ...
3
Police shoot at armed man following domestic dispute in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Officers responding to a domestic dispute ... Officers responding to a domestic dispute tried to shoot an armed man before detaining him by other means Wednesday night near West Central, according ...
4
Homeless families get six months more in county-funded hotel
ABQnews Seeker
The Bernalillo County Commission on Tuesday ... The Bernalillo County Commission on Tuesday approved spending another $740,260 to continue renting space at an undisclosed local hotel through Sept. 30.
5
District attorney announces renewed push to keep guns off ...
ABQnews Seeker
The DA and superintendent said that ... The DA and superintendent said that one of the reasons for the press conference was to remind people that bringing a gun on campus ...
6
Homeless families get six months more in county-funded hotel
ABQnews Seeker
Bernalillo County will extend its "winter ... Bernalillo County will extend its "winter wellness hotel" program through spring and summer to aid homeless families while they seek permanent housing.
7
Could Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park be the new home ...
ABQnews Seeker
Mayor Tim Keller's office confirms city ... Mayor Tim Keller's office confirms city discussions about potentially putting a new stadium at Balloon Fiesta Park
8
Man accused of bringing a gun into Albuquerque’s Flix ...
ABQnews Seeker
Darnell Hill, 25, was arrested a ... Darnell Hill, 25, was arrested a charge of carrying a firearm into a liquor establishment after he brought an AR-style rifle into Flix Brewhouse ...
9
Trinity Site opens to the public April 1
ABQnews Seeker
White Sands Missile Range will open ... White Sands Missile Range will open the Trinity Site to the public for several hours on Saturday.