The start of a criminal trial for accused serial robber and killer Ricky Martinez, Jr.—suspected of fatally shooting a worker at the Española Lotaburger—was rescheduled Monday to give him more time to prepare a defense, court records show.
Martinez, Jr., a 31-year-old ex-convict with an extensive criminal history, has pleaded not guilty to federal armed robbery and weapons charges in the violent August crime spree, which set Española on edge and culminated in the fatal Aug. 16 shooting of Cypress Garcia, 22, as he worked the Lotaburger cash register.
Jury selection in Martinez, Jr.’s case was set to begin Monday in Albuquerque federal court. His federal public defender filed a motion seeking an extra 90 days to prepare a defense—a move unopposed by federal prosecutors, according to court filings.
Martinez, Jr. is being held at the Cibola County Correctional Center, a privately owned prison in Milan, while awaiting trial in Albuquerque federal court. Records show he is not eligible for bail.
United States District Judge James O. Browning is expected to set a new court date this week for jury selection, court officials said.
Martinez, Jr. committed a series of nine armed robberies across the region—seven of them in Española—during an eight-day span in August, according to documents filed by the FBI.
He has been indicted on charges in three of the Española robberies: Dandy Burger on Aug. 9, Shell gas station on Aug. 10 and Walgreens on Aug. 11. He is also
Authorities are also expected to charge Martinez, Jr. with Garcia’s homicide, as well as as many as six other armed robberies, court records indicate.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico, which is prosecuting Martinez, Jr., declined to comment Monday on the possibility of additional federal charges.
Martinez, Jr. could also face prosecution for state crimes by the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
In addition to the robberies and homicide, authorities suspect Martinez Jr. gave fentanyl pills to three fellow inmates who overdosed, two of them fatally, at Rio Arriba County Detention Center earlier this year.
“My office has reserved the right to charge the [Martinez, Jr.] at a later time” for the robberies, homicide, and potential drug crimes, said JoHanna Cox, attorney and public information officer at the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Cox added that, “For the time being, we are allowing the federal government to proceed with prosecution of their matters…At times it can be easier to allow one jurisdiction to resolve their matter with a Defendant rather than proceeding in parallel jurisdictions.”
Long before his alleged crime spree, Martinez, Jr. was considered a “danger to the public” by federal prosecutors, records show.
In 2011, when Martinez, Jr. was 19, he shot at a carful of people after exchanging words with the driver, according to U.S Attorney’s Office filings. The three victims were shot in their wrist, rib cage, and elbow.
Martinez, Jr. was convicted of shooting at a motor vehicle in the case and sentenced to a prison term of five and a half years, part of which was suspended.
After his release from prison, Martinez, Jr. violated his probation four times, records show.
“[Martinez, Jr.] has a history of violent conduct starting from a young age,” Albuquerque Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison C. Jaros wrote in Sept. 2019.
“He is a danger to the public.”
In 2019, Martinez, Jr. was charged with assault with intent to commit murder for stabbing an Indian man 14 times inside his home on the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.
Prosecutors said Martinez, Jr. broke into the man’s home, falsely accused him of stealing his phone, and repeatedly stabbed him in his face, chest and back with an 8-inch pocket knife.
Martinez, Jr. accepted a plea deal in the stabbing case—resolving a number of outstanding criminal charges in the process—and received a sentence of four years imprisonment, plus three years of supervised release, records show.
Despite his fellow inmates’ fentanyl overdose deaths—with drugs Martinez, Jr. is suspected of supplying—he was released from the county jail in April and placed on probation, records show.
In July, Martinez, Jr.’s probation officer filed papers saying he had tested positive for cocaine and stopped answering his calls, leading a federal judge to issue an arrest warrant.
The Española robbery spree began less than a month later.
At least one other person has been criminally charged in connection with the spree.
Adelene Urquijo faces a state charge of harboring or aiding a felon for allegedly acting as Martinez, Jr.’s getaway driver after the Lotaburger killing. Investigators said she drove Garcia from the scene after he fatally shot Garcia and repeatedly pistol-whipped his brother, Cyress, who was working the Lotaburger grill when his brother was killed.