Robert Martinez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a class 2 felony, in the death of Mathias Fritz, and first-degree assault, a class 3 felony, for actions that caused serious bodily harm to Alma Salazar, Fritz’ girlfriend after he a deal was closed with the 12ºJudicial District DA. Both crimes were considered crimes of violence.
In exchange for the guilty plea, DA Alonzo Payne is requesting the court sentence Martinez, 32, to no less than 26 years with a limit of 50 years to be spent in the Department of Corrections, with sentences being served consecutively. As part of the provision, the prosecutor’s office also agreed to drop several other charges Martinez faces in Alamosa County and three charges he faces in Rio Grande County.
Additional charges Martinez is facing in Chaffee County are not included in the proposed settlement.
As part of the lawsuit, presiding judge Michael Gonzales asked the prosecutor if his office was in contact with the victims in the case, which DA Payne said they were personally. Both parties – Salazar and a member of Fritz’s family – were not opposed to the provision, according to DA Payne. Salazar and a member of Fritz’s family were present in the lawsuit via Webex. Both confirmed that they had no objections.
As part of the lawsuit, Judge Gonzales asked DA Payne why he was making this offer.
“We believe it is in the interests of justice and, from our perspective, going forward with a trial would represent an extra burden for victims,” Payne said. “This provision also results in a sentence that is not substantially less than we believe we can get on a conviction at trial.”
Judge Gonzales then analyzed the provision point by point, including what the charges involved and how, by entering a guilty plea, Martinez was giving up the right to a trial.
The judge also explained that – under normal circumstances – a sentence on the second-degree murder charge would result in Martinez facing a minimum of 16 years and a maximum of 48 years in prison. On the first-degree assault charge, Martinez would be sentenced to between 10 and 32 years. Since sentences must be served consecutively, meaning one sentence after another versus at the same time, Martinez would face a total minimum of 26 years and a maximum total of 80 years in prison if there was no plea agreement.
Judge Gonzales said there was a factual basis for accepting the plea agreement and found Martinez guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree assault. He then set a date for the sentencing hearing, July 15 at 2:00 pm. His sentence will be based on the analysis of the results of an investigation by the parole department in Martinez and conversations with victims and any other information presented in the sentence, including statements from the victims, should they choose to do so.
Entering a guilty plea removes the possibility of an appeal.
Crimes of violence generally guarantee that a person will serve at least 75% of those convicted. If Martinez received the maximum sentence, he would not be eligible for parole until he was nearly 70 years old. In addition, due to the nature of the crimes, he would be on mandatory probation for another 8 years after his release.
Martinez was charged with breaking and entering in 2018 when he, in the company of two other men, forced his way into Fritz’s apartment. Fritz was gunned down and Salazar was shot, but he survived.