One of the seven people charged in the October 2018 death of Cameron Martinez has accepted a plea deal from the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office after agreeing to testify against the other defendants.
Savannah Martinez, 23, of Ohkay Owingeh, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, a third degree felony, May 3 in the First Judicial District Court of Santa Fe. She admitted to the court that she helped dispose of spent shell casings from the shooting.
“She has agreed to fully cooperate in bringing the others involved to justice and will provide the New Mexico State Police and the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office with evidence related to the death of Cameron Martinez and the wounding of the other three young victims,” District Attorney Marco Serna wrote in an update released May 3. “She agreed to testify at trial against all of the remaining defendants.”
Serna said the family of Cameron Martinez and the other victims in the case were consulted concerning the plea deal prior to the May 3 hearing.
“We are definitely happy with the DA bringing us and the other victims and their families to just be involved and just be aware of everything that was happening,” Rebecca Martinez, Cameron Martinez’s sister said Tuesday. “We trust the DA’s office that they’re doing the best job possible; and we really just hope at the end of it all that justice is served to all of the people that are involved.”
Savannah Martinez was initially charged with five counts of conspiracy and one count of tampering with evidence. The tampering with evidence charges were later dropped because she is a tribal member and those crimes allegedly occurred in Ohkay Owingeh. At the time, Serna said he referred those charges to federal authorities for charging. Now the conspiracy charges have all been dropped.
“It was resolved, obviously the underlying charges of the conspiracy are dismissed, which is absolutely the right decision,” Savannah Martinez’s Santa Fe-based Attorney David Foster said in a phone interview Monday. “As the case proceeds she might be called as a witness down the road.”
Part of the deal included Savannah Martinez’s immediate release from incarceration. Now, she will await trial with a modicum of freedom, on 24/7 house arrest until she is sentenced. The sentencing has been delayed until after her co-defendant’s have completed their trials.
The terms of the plea agreement call for three years of probation.
Martinez has already been released from custody, Foster said Monday, but declined to say precisely where she would spend her time on house arrest.
The move to drop additional charges and offer Martinez a plea deal is in stark contrast to statements made by Serna at her pre-trial detention hearing last October. During that hearing Serna said Martinez was a “willing participant” in driving around with Mark Hice, Anton Martinez and Axel Zamarron who are all charged as shooters in the case.
Serna had asked a judge to keep Savannah Martinez in jail until trial in part because of her tribal status. He claimed at the time the sovereignty of Ohkay Owingeh made it difficult for New Mexico law enforcement to force defendants to comply with appearing at court hearings.
Enjoy reading the SUN online? Then you'll love the print version. This is just one of the 26 local news, opinion, arts and sports stories published in the May 8, 2019 edition. To see the rest, buy a copy from one of our vendors on the street or at one of these locations.