A man, whose actions were deemed by Judge Frank Ochoa to be “unparalleled in my career on the bench,” was sentenced to a term of 14 years to life in prison for torturing a homeless, mentally ill woman in July 2006.
At the Monday sentencing hearing of Samuel Joseph Martinez, Jr. – found guilty on July 1 by a Santa Barbara jury of torture, assault with intent to commit great bodily injury, and personally inflicting great bodily injury – Ochoa called him a serious danger to society. He said when Martinez, who has served seven different prison terms, and has not been out of prison for five consecutive years since 1972, came up for parole after the 14 years, he would recommend parole be denied. “He’s an extreme danger to society,” Ochoa said.
According to witness testimony at trial, Martinez – who was caught on tape admitting much of the crime to family members – came up to the victim asleep on a bench near Victoria and De La Vina Streets and wanted to have sex with her. After he was unable move her, Martinez beat the victim severally, breaking her nose and several ribs and puncturing a lung.
He was not arrested until August 2007, more than a year after the crime.
Martinez addressed the court Monday morning, speaking in a low mumble, but generally denying he had anything to do with the attack. He claimed there was jury misconduct, and tried to deflect blame elsewhere. Ochoa eventually stepped in, telling Martinez he had two more minutes to speak, explaining, “You’re not helping yourself.”
Indeed, Ochoa found there was no misconduct. Senior Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman said the evidence in the case was overwhelming, noting it only took the jury a matter of hours to convict Martinez. “Justice was served in this case,” Waldman said in a statement after the sentencing. “Today an extremely dangerous man is now off the streets for life.”
Joe Allen, who represented Martinez, indicated he would prepare a notice of appeal at his client’s request.