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Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 10:58pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — A convicted murderer will not be put to death for the stabbing deaths of a mother and daughter.
Jurors decided to keep Christian Martinez in prison for life without the possibility of parole and the defense is still holding on to their claim that the 24-year-old killer is mentally ill.
The only emotion shared in the 210th district courtroom Wednesday -- was from Nallely Galindo.
as she looked at her mother's killer --
“May the Lord have mercy on your soul,” she read to Christian Martinez from the stand. Walking away from Martinez proved to be a tense moment, as she avoided looking at the man who brutally stabbed her mother and sister. Martinez only looked up during the trial when the judge ordered him to.
"He's just really clueless. He really does have a severe mental illness. It's not anything we invented, it's something given his history it's what's always been there,” Joe Spencer, the convicted killer’s attorney told us. Martinez's team argued their client's illness caused him to commit murder three years ago, "But if you look at Christian's life and the totality of everything, he had one incident… one incident in his life and that was of January 28th of 2011."
Investigators said that's when Martinez stabbed the strangers, Jovana and Amalia, to death in their East El Paso home, for no apparent reason and then tried to kill himself.
"It's been a very difficult case,” Bill Anderson, the Assistant District Attorney in this trial said.
Prosecutors laid out the scene both visually and in person. Showing jurors, in the beginning of the trial, video of the knives used to stab the women to death as well as showing the weapons in the courtroom.
"What made this case horrific was…over a hundred stab wounds that these women suffered, you can't get around that,” Spencer said. A crime so horrendous, the District Attorney's office sought the death penalty but settled with life in prison.
"They made that decision and we're happy with that,” Anderson said about the jury’s decision.
But at the very end an East El Paso family continues to grieve the loss of a mother and daughter whose lives were cut short.
Defense Attorney Joe Spencer mentioned that an appeal may be an option and also said if they do choose to appeal the death penalty will never be an option again.