The Gwinnett mother accused of stabbing to death four of her children and their father appeared in court for the first time Friday morning – smiling for cameras and telling the judge she doesn’t want an attorney.
“I don’t need an attorney,” Isabel Martinez said through an interpreter. “My attorney is the people that we are fighting for...It does not matter what color you are because God loves us all.”
Martinez, 33, is accused of killing four of her children and their father early Thursday morning at the family’s home in Loganville. She was arrested later Thursday and is being held without bond at the Gwinnett jail.
Her behavior in court was bizarre and erratic as she smiled to the media and gave two thumbs-up to the cameras. She put her hands together as if she was praying and had a smirk on her face.
“I’m going to caution you to cut off the display for the cameras,” Judge Michael Thorpe told Martinez. “It’s really not a good idea. Probably not to your benefit. I can’t physically stop you from doing it, but it ain’t a good idea.”
The judge advised her against not obtaining an attorney, but Martinez adamantly shook her head. Her words that followed made little sense.
"It's just that for me , the hope are always going to be the people and my faith...those are my friends, that's why I'm here,” Martinez said. “It doesn't matter here, anything else. I'm here representing the people (that are) humble and hardworking. The people that suffer. The people that have a lot of charges so that they understand that everything is possible with God.”
Thorpe told Martinez her next court appearance will be July 20 at 8:30 a.m.
“We are concluded with you,” the judge said. “You probably need to stop talking.”
Martinez is also charged with stabbing her fifth child, a little girl, who was airlifted to a hospital and expected to remain hospitalized for two or three weeks, according to a GoFund Me page set up by family members.
MORE PHOTOS: Children, father stabbed to death in Loganville
She is charged with five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six charges of aggravated assault. Also, an immigration hold was placed on Martinez, which means the government suspects she may be in the country without legal permission and could be eligible for deportation
Immigration officials said Friday that Martinez illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico. But because it was her first encounter with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), it was unknown how long she has been the country, according to Bryan Cox, a spokesman for the agency. Martinez told police her husband was also in the U.S. illegally, Cox said.
Police identified the victims late Thursday.
The father was Martin Romero, age 33.
The four siblings killed were 2-year-old Axel, 4-year-old Dillan, 7-year-old Dacota and 10-year-old Isabela Martinez
Nine-year-old Diana Romero was also stabbed and flown by helicopter to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The four kids and father were already dead when police arrived at the family’s mobile home on Emory Lane around 5 a.m. Thursday. Martinez had called 911 at 4:47 a.m. requesting help.
Investigators have yet to say whether a confession followed, but Gwinnett Police Cpl. Deon Washington said Thursday that Martinez is the “primary suspect,” adding investigators are “not searching for anyone else.”
Martinez has been cooperative, police said.
- Return for updates.