DA: No death penalty for Gwinnett mom who killed 4 kids, husband


A Gwinnett County woman charged with killing her husband and four children will not face the death penalty when her case goes to trial.

Isabel Martinez entered a plea of not guilty to stabbing her 9-year-old daughter and killing the five other members of her family at a brief Monday morning arraignment. The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office had not formally declared their intent to seek the death penalty by the time of the arraignment. That is the legal deadline to decide whether or not a defendant will be eligible for the death penalty.


MORE | Gwinnett mom felt ‘devil-like spirit’ before stabbing husband, children, report says

PREVIOUSLY | Georgia woman accused of killing children, husband


Martinez, 34, is charged with five counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of third-degree cruelty to children in connection with the July 2017 attack that left 9-year-old Diana Romero seriously injured and 33-year-old Martin Romero, 2-year-old Axel Romero, 4-year-old Dillan Romero, 7-year-old Dacota Romero and 10-year-old Isabela Martinez all dead.

The DA’s office confirmed the decision not to seek the death penalty to Channel 2 Action News. The decision was made due to Martinez’s “apparent mental issues,” District Attorney Danny Porter told Channel 2. 

Martinez had been depressed in  the months before the killings and had experienced outbursts of anger and sadness that friends considered unusual, neighbors told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Martinez felt a “devil-like spirit” was trying to take her children when they were playing in the ocean near Savannah shortly before the killings, she told a Department of Family and Child Services worker after her arrest. 

Court records do not indicate that Martinez has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation. Her attorneys, Josh Moore and Laura Berg, did not respond to phone calls from the AJC.

Martinez, who mimed praying and gave news cameras a double thumbs up at her first court hearing in July, smiled meekly as she walked into the courtroom Monday morning. She did not speak at the hearing. 

Martinez had previously told police that a “family friend” committed the stabbings in her Loganville home, but she did not give police the name of that alleged friend. The attack is believed to have occurred between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. July 7.

Diana Romero, the only surviving child, told a DFCS worker that Martinez began stabbing the children first; when Martin Romero tried to stop her, Martinez stabbed him, according to a DFCS report. Martinez was not crying or screaming as she killed her family members, and told Diana Romero that she was “going to the sky to see Jesus,” Diana Romero told a DFCS worker.

Martinez called 911 at 4:47 a.m. on July 6, and first responders found her with a cut wrist, sitting among the six stabbing victims, according to Gwinnett County police. She was detained and charged that afternoon, and has since been held without bond at the Gwinnett County Detention Center. 


Like Gwinnett County News on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

Stay up to the minute with breaking news on Channel 2 Action News This Morning



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Police search for gunman who fired shots at unmarked cop car in SW Atlanta
Police search for gunman who fired shots at unmarked cop car in SW Atlanta

Atlanta police are searching for a gunman who fire multiple shots at an unmarked patrol car in southwest Atlanta Friday night. The incident happened while officers were investigating a call in the 1100 block of Osborne Street, Atlanta police spokeswoman Stephanie Brown said. She said a man fired several shots at the patrol car, striking it twice. No...
Former Atlanta Fire chief will receive $1.2M settlement over firing
Former Atlanta Fire chief will receive $1.2M settlement over firing

The City of Atlanta has agreed to a $1.2 million settlement with an ex-Atlanta Fire chief over his firing after he wrote a book that compared homosexuality to bestiality. The city council approved the payout to Kelvin Cochran with a vote of 11-3, according to WSB Radio, which was at the city council meeting Monday. MORE: Former Atlanta fire chief...
Ex-Georgia high school star who was cut by Falcons accused of having sex with child
Ex-Georgia high school star who was cut by Falcons accused of having sex with child

A former Georgia high school football standout who briefly signed with the Atlanta Falcons was arrested Saturday by Columbus police for allegedly having sex with a 12-year-old girl, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported. Justin Crawford, 23, who played running back at Hardaway High School and West Virginia University, faces charges of incest,...
Felon faces 7 felonies after alleged robbery at Pappadeaux in Gwinnett, SWAT standoff
Felon faces 7 felonies after alleged robbery at Pappadeaux in Gwinnett, SWAT standoff

A man was arrested Monday in Gwinnett County after allegedly attacking two men in a seafood restaurant parking lot and prompting a SWAT standoff at a nearby apartment complex, Channel 2 Action News reported. Mikail Dinkins, 26, of Duluth, is accused of pistol-whipping a man in the parking lot of Pappadeaux on Jimmy Carter Boulevard before robbing...
‘Rock for Rescues’ returns to Milton in April
‘Rock for Rescues’ returns to Milton in April

The city of Milton has again partnered with the Vox Artium Foundation to offer “Rock for Rescues,” a series of events culminating in a one-day music festival April 27, 2019, to benefit local animal welfare organizations. “We’re building on last year’s success and making a few tweaks such as shifting the festival start...
More Stories