Longform

Judgment Day

Page 13 of 17

Failure eats at her every day. Parents are supposed to keep their children safe, and she didn't. "Everyone knows that that's the way it is...But I couldn't save her. I couldn't help her. I couldn't comfort her."

Maybe, she says, if she's good, there'll be a chance to atone in the future. "If I'm lucky enough, I'll be with her again, because I know she's in a good place, and I got to work real hard so I can be with her, and that's the only thing I think that keeps me going...that I get to see her again.

"I got to tell her I love her, and I just got to hold her, and I got to apologize to her for not helping her, for not being able to do something, and that's my hell."

Angela reaches the end. But, as always, she has the feeling that there's something else she should have said, some word to describe the emptiness. She wipes away a tear. "I wish I could make you understand."

May 12, 1999
The prosecution wraps up its case with a few last witnesses. A parole officer who testifies that Francisco was wanted for the shooting of Pedro Medina and the assault on Gina Ynostrosa. Two deputies who relate an incident at the jail when Francisco, upset about not being allowed to go immediately to his cell following a hearing, picked up a heavy metal shower grate and seemed ready to attack.

Jacob "Smiley" Casados, another young man in an orange jail jumpsuit, is brought in to testify about an occurrence during Francisco's trial. Another co-defendant who testified for the prosecution, Casados accidentally crossed paths with Francisco, who told him: "You won't be Smiley anymore." But like David Warren, Casados now refuses to talk.

"Why don't you want to testify?" Bakke asks.
"My life would be in danger," he says.
Casados is sent back to his cell. But a deputy who heard Francisco's statement to Casados tells the court all about it.

The rest of the afternoon is consumed by Jeffco sheriff's investigator Al Simmons, who reviews the evidence from the trial.

At the end of the day, the prosecution rests. Tomorrow the defense will get its turn.

May 13, 1999
Among this day's witnesses:
Francisco's father, Francisco Martinez Sr., testifies that he used to beat his wife, especially when she "talked back" about his womanizing and drinking. One Christmas, he tossed the turkey and the Christmas tree out the door.

The violence went both ways. His wife once took a shot at him, and later, after he'd forced his father-in-law off the road, his wife's family had come gunning for him. He'd taken off for California and never returned. At the time, Francisco was four.

Jacqueline Baros, Francisco's aunt, testifies about fleeing her own abusive husband and moving in with her sister, Linda, and Linda's three children. For the first few months, they lived crowded together in a portion of their parents' former home; Linda had blocked off the rest of the house to conserve heat. Jacqueline recalls that they'd see mice crawling over the children, who slept on the floor. "We thought it was funny, but, you know, it's not."

Jacqueline testifies about the day that Linda, who was on anti-depressants, pulled Francisco and his younger sister, Monique, out of school and took them to church. In the front pew, Linda explained to then-eleven-year-old Francisco that he would have to be a man now and "take care of things," then pulled out a gun and aimed it at her head. Fortunately, Linda had called the police in advance, and they showed up in time to wrestle the gun away.

After the turkey incident with Frank Martinez Sr., Linda refused to celebrate Christmas until 1997, Jacqueline says. Noting the date, one member of Brandy's family whispers to another, "only after Brandy was killed."

On cross-examination, Bakke gets Jacqueline to concede that the kids celebrated Christmas with other members of the extended family. "And you made sure the children were never neglected?" Bakke says.

"Yes, I did," Jacqueline admits.
"And didn't you tell a defense investigator that after the church incident, Pancho seemed 'more concerned than upset?'" Bakke asks, reading from the investigator's report.

"That is true."
It's late afternoon when Nicole Martinez takes the stand. She's faithfully attended every day of the hearing, watching sullenly as Francisco's girlfriends testified about what a good father he was to their children.

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