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Jurors deciding life or death for Christian Martinez

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- Jurors in the trial for a man found guilty of murdering a mother and daughter in their home three years ago began deliberations Tuesday afternoon, deciding whether the man will face life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

The last words jurors in the Christian Martinez capital murder trial heard before packing into the deliberation room were from attorneys as they presented their closing arguments.

Prosecuting attorneys showed jurors photos of victims Amalia Flores, 58, and her daughter Jovana Flores, 20. Last week, jurors found Martinez guilty of the murders. They said he stabbed the two more than 100 times combined and then attempted to commit suicide in their home on Jan. 28, 2011.

Prosecutors asked jurors to sentence Martinez to death.

"He's a double murderer. People should be afraid of him. People should be afraid of society because of people like him," said prosecuting attorney Bill Prasher.

Prosecutors believe Martinez might be a threat to prison staff, if he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

"It's like turning on a switch. There's no telling when that's going to happen, but we know that will happen," said Prasher. "If someone does something once it's no good indicator they'll do it again. If someone does something over 100 times, almost certain he'll do it again."

Defense attorneys Jaime Gandara and Joe Spencer fought back by saying Martinez has been incarcerated for the past three years and hasn't once been a threat to the staff.

"With his age, his size, you really think he's a predator or he's going to be preyed upon?" asked Spencer.

Defense attorneys are asking the jury to sentence Martinez to life in prison without parole.

"Give him a life of suffering," said Spencer. "If he goes to prison he will leave in a coffin."

The defense called the death penalty to retaliation and revenge. The Martinez family and Flores family packed the courtroom for closing arguments and wait to hear the jury's decision.

Jurors have been sequestered for the night and will continue their deliberation efforts Wednesday morning.

 

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