GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Isabel Martinez entered a plea of not guilty to stabbing her 9-year-old daughter and killing her husband and four children at a brief Monday morning arraignment.
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 Gwinnett County prosecutor said she will not face the death penalty because of her mental state.
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.
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 AJC.
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 been held without bond at the Gwinnett County Detention Center since.
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