September 27, 2018 05:45 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The trial for one of the suspects charged in the child abuse death of 10-year-old Victoria Martens is now on hold.
Fabian Gonzales’ trial was scheduled to start Oct. 15.
However, Judge Charles Brown canceled Gonzales’ trial date during what should have been a routine status hearing.
Brown made the decision after prosecutors said they wanted the New Mexico Court of Appeals to decide if certain evidence the judge banned from the trial should actually be allowed.
The evidence includes statements made by Gonzales’ cousin, Jessica Kelley, who is also charged in connection with Victoria’s death.
“She made some statements that implicated herself and this defendant,” said deputy district attorney Greer Rose. “We feel those statements are key in showing this defendant’s role in the murder of Victoria.”
Prosecutors are also hoping the court of appeals will reverse Judge Brown’s decision to not allow evidence about Gonzales’ drug use during the trial.
“It wasn’t just his past drug use,” said Rose. “It was evidence of drug use right around the time of the murder. We feel like that’s important to show the overall picture of what’s going on.”
There’s no timeline for when the court of appeals will make a decision.
Once it does, Judge Brown will set a new trial date.
In response, the defense has filed a demand for a speedy trial.
The defense claims the state’s appeal was filed to delay the trial and gain a strategic advantage.