Martinez pleads guilty to second-degree murder, assault

DA Payne requests 50-year maximum sentence

Robert Martinez pled 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 injury to Alma Salazar, Fritz’s girlfriend after a deal was struck with the 12thJudicial 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 cap of 50 years to be spent in the Department of Corrections, with the sentences being served consecutively. As part of the disposition, the DA’s office also agreed to drop numerous other charges Martinez is facing in Alamosa County and three charges he is facing in Rio Grande County.

Additional charges Martinez is facing in Chaffee County are not included in the proposed settlement.

As part of the proceedings, presiding Judge Michael Gonzales asked the district attorney if his office was in contact with the victims in the case, to which DA Payne said they were, in person. Both parties — Salazar and a family member of Fritz — had no objection to the disposition, according to DA Payne. Salazar and a member of Fritz’s family were present for the court proceedings via Webex. Both confirmed that they had no objection.

As part of the proceedings, Judge Gonzales asked DA Payne why he was making this offer.

“We believe it’s in the interest of justice and, from our perspective, going forward with a trial would put an extra burden on the victims,” Payne said. “This disposition also results in a sentence that is not substantially less than what we believe we can get in a conviction at trial.”

Judge Gonzales then went through the disposition point by point, including what the charges involve and how, by his entering a plea of guilty, Martinez was giving up the right to a trial.

The judge also explained that — under normal circumstances — a sentence for the charge of second-degree murder would result in Martinez facing a minimum of 16 years and a maximum of 48 years in prison. For the charge of first-degree assault, Martinez would be sentenced to between 10 and 32 years. Since the sentences are to be served consecutively, that is, one sentence served after another versus at the same time, Martinez would face a total minimum of 26 years and a total maximum of 80 years in prison if there had been no plea agreement.

Judge Gonzales said there was a factual basis to accept 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 p.m. His sentencing will be based upon his review of the results of an investigation by the probation department into Martinez and conversations with the victims and any other information presented at sentencing, including statements from the victims, should they choose to make one.

Entering a plea of guilty removes the possibility of an appeal.

Crimes of violence typically guarantee that a person will serve at least 75% of the sentenced. If Martinez received the maximum sentence, he would not be eligible for parole until he was almost 70 years old. Also, due to the nature of crimes, he would be on mandatory probation for another 8 years after his release.

Martinez was charged in a 2018 home invasion when he, in the company of two other men, forced their way into the apartment of Fritz. Fritz was fatally shot, and Salazar was shot, but survived.