December 18, 2009
The Orange County District Attorney's Office
WESTMINSTER - A Santa Ana criminal street gang member was sentenced today to 117 years to life in state prison for entering a home using a key stolen from under the welcome mat and robbing a mother, daughter, and grandmother at gunpoint after duct taping two to chairs and assaulting them with a firearm. Carlos Alberto Martinez, 26, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 24, 2009, of three felony counts of first degree robbery, two felony counts of false imprisonment by violence, and one felony count each of false imprisonment by violence of an elder, first degree residential burglary, aggravated assault, assault with a firearm, elder abuse, street terrorism, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for criminal street gang activity, causing great bodily injury, and the personal use of a firearm. He has a prior strike conviction from 2000 for robbery.
At approximately 5:45 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2007, Martinez and an unidentified accomplice entered a Santa Ana home using a key, which one of the defendants had stolen a few days prior after seeing Jane Doe #3, a 78-year-old grandmother, hide it under the front door mat. Wearing ski masks and armed with firearms, the defendants entered the kitchen and attacked Jane Doe #3 and her 54-year-old daughter, Jane Doe #1. Martinez and his accomplice duct taped the two victims to chairs by binding their wrists, ankles, bodies, and faces.
One of the defendants went into a bathroom, where 17-year-old Jane Doe #2 was showering. He ordered her at gunpoint to get out of the shower and forced her into the kitchen, where her mother and grandmother were being held.
As the three victims screamed in terror, the two defendants repeatedly hit Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #3 in the face with their firearms as they demanded cash and jewelry. Martinez and his accomplice stole $64 in cash and $150 in jewelry items and then fled the scene on foot. A neighbor testified during the trial that she called 9-1-1 after being awoken by the sound of the victims screaming.
The victims were transported to the hospital to be treated for their injuries. Jane Doe #3 was hospitalized for several days and continues to suffer from chronic headaches and vision problems as a result of the attack. Evidence was collected from the scene of the crime, including DNA from an interior door handle.
In April 2008, Martinez was convicted in an unrelated gang case for street terrorism and the unlawful taking of a vehicle in Orange County. He was sentenced to four years in state prison. The defendant was ordered to submit his DNA as a result of the conviction.
In June 2008, the DNA collected from the home in Santa Ana was matched to Martinez's DNA from his April 2008 conviction. The defendant was transported from state prison to Orange County to face charges.
All three victims testified during the trial. Jane Doe #1 testified that she was unable to sleep and was traumatized for months after the attack. When shown a crime scene photograph of herself with duct tape still in her hair and a bloody, swollen lip for the first time, Jane Doe #1 was overcome with emotion and broke down in tears on the stand.
Jane Doe #1 submitted a written victim impact statement to the court for sentencing today describing the helplessness she felt as she was duct taped to a chair and her screaming mother was repeatedly hit with the guns. Jane Doe #1 also wrote about her fear that these men would assault her terrified daughter, who was wearing only a towel after being ordered from the shower by two unknown men.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos of the TARGET Unit prosecuted this case.