Man Sentenced in Child Abuse Case
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Dozens of people filed into a packed courtroom Friday morning for the sentencing of 31-year-old Jessie Martinez. In May, Martinez pleaded guilty to one count of felony child abuse resulting in serious injury for his role in not helping his girlfriend's son who had suffered a serious head injury. Judge Robison sentenced Martinez to 25 years in prison. The plea deal Martinez accepted was for 15 to 27 years. District Attorney, Mark Hand, argued that Martinez did nothing for a period of four days, following a severe head injury to his girlfriend's 4-year-old son. Hand says that Martinez and his girlfriend at the time, Ashleigh Wallace, were on drugs and drinking at the time of the incident. It is not known how 4-year-old Elijah was hurt in the incident, however, prosecutor's say neither Martinez nor Wallace did anything to help the child during the time of the incident. Hand told the court that Martinez was the only one at the time of the incident and that he should have contacted help. Elijah is confined to a wheelchair and is being fed through a feeding tube. Emotional family members spoke at the hearing including Elijah's grandparents and father. Elijah's father, Aaron, was too emotional too to talk on camera but tells NewsChannel 5 that "Elijah will be 30 by the time he's out, He won't have to worry about Jessie anymore." Family and friends also spoke on behalf of Martinez claiming that he is a good father and would never intentionally hurt any children. Judge Robison said, "So much could have been prevented based on a call or ride to the hospital." Wallace was previously sentenced to 6 years in Community Corrections. Martinez will also be facing mandatory parole following his release from the Department of Corrections.