Worthington man sentenced for assaultWORTHINGTON — Judge Timothy Connell, reiterating comments made by Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore, spoke of the sense of disquiet in a neighborhood after a violent act, stating he couldn’t find a way to overcome that and sentencing Adrian Martinez to 74 months in prison.
WORTHINGTON — Judge Timothy Connell, reiterating comments made by Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore, spoke of the sense of disquiet in a neighborhood after a violent act, stating he couldn’t find a way to overcome that and sentencing Adrian Martinez to 74 months in prison.
Martinez, 22, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in January, entering into a plea agreement that dismissed a charge of attempted murder. He was sentenced Tuesday in Nobles County District Court.
Defense attorney Daniel Birkholz’s attempts to argue for a downward departure on the sentence were unsuccessful despite the witnesses he brought in who all claimed Martinez was a kind, caring man who had never exhibited signs of aggressive behavior or violence.
Martinez was accused of — and pleaded guilty to — assaulting another man with an aluminum baseball bat, causing substantial bodily harm. According to the criminal complaint, Martinez sat in his vehicle and waited for the man to arrive, then approached him from the back and beat him on the head several times with the bat, fracturing his skull. The victim, who was with Martinez’s girlfriend at the time, had to be rushed to the hospital and is now facing over $70,000 in medical bills due to Martinez’s actions.
Even though witnesses claimed Martinez sat in his car, then rushed over with a baseball bat when the victim arrived, Martinez claimed in court he had no intention of assaulting the man that day, and doesn’t know why he did what he did.
“I can’t really explain why,” he stated. “I lost control of myself.”
Three witnesses described Martinez as a polite, trustworthy, respectful young man and all expressed shock at what he had done.
“He is a good person who made a terrible mistake that day,” said Nicole Meyer, who admitted to being friends with Martinez since childhood. “He is not a monster.”
Many of Birkholz’s questions to the witnesses revolved around whether or not Martinez should be punished, and if 74 months in prison was an appropriate consequence to his actions on May 3, 2009. Each of the three women said he deserved punishment, but prison was not appropriate for a first offense.
When called to the stand, Martinez explained that he knew the victim as someone he used to do drugs with and said they had a relative in common.
“We became friends because of the drug use,” he admitted, then added his girlfriend also did drugs with the victim.
He said he had been smoking marijuana and drinking the night before and was still “pretty messed up” when he attacked the victim.
“I feel like I hurt one of my own brothers,” he said, wiping away tears. “I’m not a threat to society and don’t feel that prison would do any good for me … I want to go to school, work, be with my girlfriend. Prison will make things harder.”
While being questioned by Moore, Martinez claimed the bat he used to beat his victim was already in his car the day of the attack.
When talking to Connell, Moore referred to the assault as a vicious, premeditated and unprovoked sneak attack that stemmed from jealousy over a girlfriend. The attempt to gain a downward departure by smearing the victim, Moore said, was inappropriate.
Birkholz, who himself referred to his client’s action as “absolutely inexcusable,” claimed Martinez had the ability to become a good citizen and just needed to be given that chance. He told the judge he thought 48 months in prison was more appropriate.
“I really believe he deserves one chance,” Birkholz stated. “He made one mistake.”
When Connell asked Martinez if he had anything else to say, Martinez apologized for what he had done.
“I feel like if I go to prison it is not going to help me,” he added. “I just want to be family with (the victim). I want all of this to go away.”
Connell commented that the witness testimony and affidavits included a tremendous amount of information, but concurred with Moore’s points regarding a brutal and premeditated attack.
“The act that you committed is beyond avail,” Connell said after pronouncing the 74 month sentence. “There are things we cannot accept in our society.”
Martinez, who was remanded to custody following the hearing, has previous convictions for possession of more than 1.4 grams of marijuana in a motor vehicle, driving while impaired and disorderly conduct.