Details Emerge in Murder-Suicide — (Albuquerque Journal)

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Details Emerge in Murder-Suicide

Albuquerque Journal

Friday, July 09, 2010

By Vic Vela

Journal Staff Writer

A blood-stained Winnie the Pooh pillow was near the head of 10-year-old Devin Martinez when his body was found on his father’s bed in a La Puebla home last month.

Next to Devin, his older brother, 12-year-old Derek, was resting on a Batman pillow, his left ear covered with dried blood.

Their father, 44-year-old Melvin Martinez, a longtime Department of Transportation employee, was with the boys on the bed, with his left arm around Devin “in a hugging Devin to his chest manner,” a police report says.

Clutched in the father’s right hand was the black semi-automatic handgun that Melvin Martinez used to shoot his sons, then himself. The boys were shot in left sides of their heads. The father’s own fatal gunshot was to the right side of his head.

The three bodies were found by the boys’ aunt on the morning of June 21. Details of this haunting scene in La Puebla, southeast of Española, as well as the depression that plagued Melvin Martinez much of his life, are spelled out in reports released Thursday by New Mexico State Police.

Discovering the bodies

Jennifer Martinez, the boy’s aunt and Melvin’s sister-in-law, was the one who alerted police to the deaths after she went to Melvin Martinez’s brown stucco home, on rural Rio Vista Road, off N.M. 76.

The aunt typically watched the boys while their father worked. She drove to the house in La Puebla after Melvin had not taken Derek and Devin to her place June 21, the day after Father’s Day.

When Jennifer Martinez arrived at the house with her daughter about noon, she noticed the front door was open.

“Ms. Martinez stated she yelled from the front door for the boys and didn’t get a response,” one of the State Police reports reads.

She looked all over the inside of the residence, beginning with the boys’ room, before looking for them outside. Her daughter also looked around. Finally, Jennifer Martinez walked into her brother-in-law’s bedroom.

“Ms. Martinez stated she noticed the father laying there with his eyes open and she noticed the blood around the area of the two boys and the father,” the report states.

She then contacted police and other family members.

When interviewed by police, Jennifer Martinez said she last saw Melvin and his sons alive at a Father’s Day barbecue at her house. Their bodies were found the next day, a Monday.

Melvin’s brother Rodney told police that his brother “seemed fine at the get-together and gave no indications (that) he would do something like this.”

Gilbert Martinez, Melvin’s father, described his son as “really happy” at the gathering.

No signs of struggle

Police found Derek on the bed “in somewhat of a fetal position” next to his Batman pillow. Devin was lying face down “with his face up against the left chest and left armpit of Melvin Martinez.” The father was on his back, his right index finger resting on the trigger of the pistol.

Melvin Martinez and his two boys “were covered by a quilt from the waist down.” There was no evidence of a struggle.

A final autopsy for the deaths has not been completed by the state Office of the Medical Investigator. As for when the shootings took place, State Police spokesman Peter Olson said that may never be known. However, he said that an agent close to the case speculated, based on the crime scene and his many years of experience, that the shootings may have occurred 12 to 14 hours prior to the bodies were found, which means the shootings could have taken place on Father’s Day.

Dealing with depression

Prescription pills in Melvin Martinez’s name were found in his bedroom. Those pills were: Alprazolam (Xanax); Mirtazapine (Remeron); and Clonazepam (Klonopin). The medications collectively treat depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

Depression apparently played a large role in Melvin Martinez’s life, according to his family.

The family members told police about Martinez’s mood swings and bouts with depression. Rodney Martinez said that Melvin “suffered from his depression since high school and always took medication (for it).” The brother said that Melvin had seen a therapist the week before the shootings.

“Rodney Martinez stated Melvin Martinez would be one week good and the other week bad from his depression and would get in his moods,” the police report states.

Melvin’s father told police that his son “would often worry about insignificant things.” But Gilbert Martinez said the depression got worse in May 2001, when Melvin nearly died in a car accident in which he suffered “severe bleeding in his head.”

Gilbert Martinez said his son’s divorce from his wife, Paula, who is the mother of the boys, “really destroyed” Melvin. After the divorce, court records show that Paula requested and was granted an order of protection by a judge. She alleged that her ex-husband had become angry and obsessive and had threatened “to take the boys away from me.”

Regardless of his son’s mental health problems, Gilbert Martinez had no explanation for what could have led his son to commit two acts of murder, then kill himself.

“Melvin Martinez lived for Derek and Devin Martinez,” the report states, summarizing what the father had told police. “And his life was all about them. Gilbert Martinez stated he couldn’t find a reason why Melvin Martinez would do something like this.”