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Trial dates set in Victoria Martens rape, murder case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Trials in the Victoria Martens rape and murder case are set to begin in October 2017, Judge Charles Brown announced Friday at a scheduling conference in 2nd Judicial District Court.

While the cases for Fabian Gonzales, Jessica Kelley and Michelle Martens are currently being handled jointly, attorneys indicated that they will likely move to have the cases severed.

Michelle Martens appears in court for her arraignment on Friday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Michelle Martens appears in court for her arraignment on Friday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

“I think under the Constitution that’s pretty clear,” Gary Mitchell, defense attorney for Michelle Martens, said when Brown asked about potential severance.

Fabian Gonzales appears in court for her arraignment on Friday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Fabian Gonzales appears in court for her arraignment. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Brown asked that those motions be submitted by April.

Jessica Kelley appears in court for her arraignment on Friday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Jessica Kelley appears in court for her arraignment last week. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Each defendant appeared in court separately and briefly Friday morning, all three shackled and wearing orange jumpsuits. Kelley, who police said jumped off of a balcony to evade them, was using a wheelchair.

According to police, Michelle Martens watched as Gonzales, her boyfriend, and Kelley, his cousin, drugged her daughter before sexually assaulting, strangling and dismembering her. They are each facing first-degree murder, intentional abuse of a child, criminal sexual penetration involving a child and many more charges.

Victoria Martens, 10. (Courtesy of Martens family)

Victoria Martens, 10. (Courtesy of Martens family)

Victoria Martens was found dead in her mother’s West Side apartment Aug. 24, the day after her 10th birthday.

If handled together, all three defendants will be tried beginning Oct. 2, 2017. If the cases are severed and each proceeds to trial, Brown said, one will begin on that date, and the remaining two would follow beginning on Nov. 13, 2017, and Dec. 11, 2017.

If any of the defendants opt to take a plea deal, that must happen by Sept. 1, 2017.

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