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Blog: Christian Martinez capital murder trial: Defense calls witnesses

Odd behavior and mental evaluations

By: Melissa Gundersen
As we enter into the second week of the Christian Martinez capital murder trial, defense attorney Joe Spencer began calling witnesses. His argument: Martinez is insane. The problem, however, is that the judge wouldn’t allow most of his witnesses on Monday to testify in front of the jury, claiming the testimony is irrelevant.

Martinez’s mother, brother and sister took the stand while the jury was out of the courtroom. They all told the judge that from a young age, Martinez showed signs of abnormal behavior. They described him as a loner who never seemed settled.  His mother said he tried hurting himself several times. His brother even said he predicted one day Martinez would hurt himself or someone else.

Spencer looked frustrated after their testimony wasn’t said in front of the jury.  His frustration level seemed to rise once the judge started questioning the relevance of some of the expert testimony.

Spencer called psychologist James Schutte to the stand. In front of the jury, he said he tested Martinez’s IQ, and he originally scored a 63. Schutte said that means Martinez is considered mentally retarded. 
Schutte also said Martinez suffers schizoaffective disorder and takes anti-psychotic medication. He also said he believes Martinez didn’t know his conduct was wrong. It’s a comment the judge harped on for quite some time.

The judge kept asking Schutte how Martinez was unaware that stabbing a mother and daughter more than 100 times, killing them and then trying to commit suicide is wrong.  Schutte remained consistent with his answers, saying Martinez told him he heard voices in his head, instructing him to go into the victim’s home and look for a gun to kill himself. The defense claimed that’s when he wound up stabbing the mother and daughter to death.

The trial continues Tuesday.

Blog: Christian Martinez capital murder trial: Defense calls witnesses

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