HALL COUNTY, Ga. (TCD) — A 33-year-old man and his 34-year-old wife were sentenced to several years in prison after a 2-year-old girl they were babysitting died from a “traumatic brain injury.”
Hall County court records show Juan Martinez was sentenced to 29 years in prison with one year of probation after he entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder. His wife, Nancy Martinez, received eight years behind bars with two years of probation for cruelty to a child. Both Juan and Nancy Martinez were initially charged with murder, first-degree cruelty to a child, and second-degree cruelty to a child.
On Oct. 10, 2021, Hall County Fire Services responded to the 2000 block of Bennett Circle and transported Valeria Jordan Garfias to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. She was later flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for additional treatment, but she died from her injuries.
Deputies spoke with Juan Martinez and Nancy Martinez about the girl’s death and arrested them the next day.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said the married couple “caused traumatic brain injury and other internal injuries to the child’s body, resulting in her eventual death.”
Juan and Nancy Martinez were babysitting the little girl at the time of her death.
Law & Crime reports Juan Martinez got mad at Garfias because she defecated on a chair. As a result, he reportedly hit her several times. Nancy Martinez was reportedly at work when he struck the girl, but she was implicated because she supposedly did not tell officials the truth about how Garfias died.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Bagwell reportedly said in court Juan Martinez was “angry because Valeria wet her diaper and poop came out on the chair at the table, and that she was supposed to let them know when she had to go potty.”
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Jason Deal reportedly told the Martinezes, “In this case, I’m faced with the facts that a child less than 3 years old was beat to death while she was in the care of the two defendants. And when the defendants were confronted with that fact, Mrs. Martinez chose Mr. Martinez over this child. And Mr. Martinez chose to be less than truthful, which they both had a right to do.”
He continued, “But they claimed that this was their child, that they loved this child, that this child called them mother and father. Yet when she died, they chose to lie.”
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