GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Loganville woman has pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing her husband and four children, and stabbing a fifth child, who survived, the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office said.
Isabel Martinez, 35, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to five counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of cruelty to children Tuesday, according to her attorney Don Geary.
Martinez called 911 at 4:47 a.m. on July 6, 2017. When they arrived at her Loganville home, paramedics found Martinez with her wrists slashed. Martinez’s husband, Martin Romero, 33, was found stabbed to death along with 10-year-old Isabela Martinez, 2-year-old Axel Romero, 7-year-old Dacota Romero and 4-year-old Dillan Martin-Romero. Diana Romero, then age 9, was also found with stab wounds, but survived.
Diana Romero 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 confessed to the killings in the following hours and was arrested, according to the DA’s office. Later, she claimed a “family friend” committed the stabbings in her Loganville home, but she did not give police the name of that alleged friend.
The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office declined to seek the death penalty in this case in part due to Martinez’s “apparent mental issues,” District Attorney Danny Porter told Channel 2 Action News in 2018.
Family and neighbors said Martinez was depressed in the weeks before she killed her family. Her father had died and Martinez was unable to attend the funeral in Mexico. She worried that he would go to hell because he practiced witchcraft, her brother-in-law, Orlando Romero, told the AJC. She also 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.
Martinez was sentenced to five life sentences with the possibility of parole plus 21 years after entering her plea Tuesday, according to the DA’s office.
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