Mother stabs husband children to death, gives thumbs up in court

Isabel Martinez gestures towards news cameras during her first court appearance
Isabel Martinez gestures towards news cameras during her first court appearance
Author

09 July, 2017

The deceased victims were 33-year old Martin Romero, 10-year-old Isabela Martinez, 7-year-old Dacota Romero, 4-year-old Dillan Romero and 2-year-old Axel Romero.

The injured child, a nine-year-old girl, survived but remained in hospital with injuries described by police as serious.

Martinez is next expected to appear in court on Thursday, July 20 at 8:30 a.m.

Isabel Cartuna Martinez, 31, appeared in court and her unusual actions prompted the judge's advice. "She was a little down, depressed, because of that, but we just didn't think that it was so bad".

Martinez is facing six counts of aggravated assault and five counts each of murder and malice murder.

"For me, the hope and the attorneys are always going to be the people and my faith".

Martinez was immediately taken into custody and a Gwinnett Police Department spokeswoman said the mother was cooperating with police, although a motive for the alleged killings is unclear.

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"What prompts a person to take the life of such innocent children and her spouse is something we may never understand", Gwinnett County police said in a statement. She is also be held for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Before the hearing began, Martinez sat with other inmates and posed for cameras - smiling, giving the thumbs up, putting her hands in a prayer position and spreading her arms out wide.

Other cases get less attention, as when a woman kills a newborn or in children's deaths blamed on neglect, said Cheryl Meyer, a psychology professor at Wright State University in OH and co-author of two books on mothers who have killed children based on about 1,000 cases during the 1990s. The caller may have been Martinez, police said. However, when the judge listed the charges, she shook her face head "no" and flapped her finger at him. A fifth child also was stabbed but survived.

"Fortunately, they found one additional child who was still alive suffering from serious conditions", police told PEOPLE in a statement.

Martinez also rejected a court-appointed attorney, despite qualifying for one, CNN reported. Her husband was later identified as 33-year-old Martin Romero.

Neighbors and family members were left in shock following the gruesome discovery Thursday morning at Martinez's home outside Atlanta, wondering what could have driven a mother to murder her children.


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