ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One day before the first trial in the Victoria Martens case was scheduled to begin, the defendant, 34-year-old Jessica Kelley pleaded no contest to child abuse recklessly caused, resulting in death, tampering with evidence and aggravated assault.
She faces 50 years in prison, with the possibility to get out in a little over 20 years for good behavior.
Kelley is the second defendant in the high profile case to plead in the case.
Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death over the summer. She faces between 12 and 15 years in prison with the opportunity for that to be cut in half for good behavior.
In August 2016, Victoria was discovered dead in her mother’s Northwest Albuquerque apartment. She had been strangled, stabbed and dismembered and her body was on fire.
Albuquerque Police Department detectives arrested Martens, Martens’s boyfriend Fabian Gonzales and Gonzales’s cousin Kelley and charged them with murder, child abuse, rape and tampering with evidence. However, in late June, District Attorney Raul Torrez announced much of what was known about the case is “simply not true.”
The most serious charges against Gonzales were dismissed. His trial, which was supposed to begin in October has been delayed pending a decision by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.