A mother and son arrested in connection to a double homicide in Yuba City last week made their first court appearance Wednesday.
During his hearing, Diego Martinez, 19, was appointed a public defender who requested his arraignment be continued to July 12. The attorney said he still needed to obtain the police report.
Martinez was charged in Sutter County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree murder, two sentence enhancements for multiple victims, and two sentence enhancements for discharge of a firearm causing death.
His mother, 36-year-old Christy Madl, pleaded not guilty to felony accessory. The criminal complaint against her indicates she’s been accused of harboring, concealing or aiding Martinez in order for him to escape arrest, trial, conviction or punishment.
Martinez is accused of entering the Clark Avenue home of 73-year-old Margarita Contreras and 41-year-old Jose M. Ramirez just before noon June 14 and shooting them.
Newly-filed court documents allege that after the murders, Martinez hid the firearm in an empty house and contacted his mother to tell her what he had done. Madl allegedly drove Martinez to a friend’s home, where they told her of the murders. Two of the friend’s children entered Madl’s car before the pair drove away, court documents allege. The friend made numerous attempts to contact the children and have them returned to her.
The one time the friend spoke to Madl, she was told the kids had been left in Yuba City. But those children were in the vehicle when Madl and Martinez were arrested early Saturday by Los Angeles-area California Highway Patrol, according to court documents. Police said at the time of the arrest that the pair was arrested with two juveniles in the car, who had been taken into Child Protective Services custody. Madl and Martinez were booked into Los Angeles County Jail before being transferred to Sutter County Jail Tuesday night.
Police also said Tuesday that they had recovered a handgun they believed was involved in the murder, though they wouldn’t say where it was found. Police also have not offered a motive in the crime. Martinez lives with his mother, father and four siblings at a home in the 1400 block of Hayne Avenue—two miles from where the victims lived.
The murder charge against Martinez is a capital offense, court documents say, but Gov. Gavin Newsom put a moratorium on the death penalty in March. Martinez remains in Sutter County Jail with no bail.
Madl’s attorney requested her $250,000 bail be reduced so she could tend to her four other children at home, whose ages range from 4 to 13. Assistant District Attorney Jana McClung opposed the request, arguing that Madl left her children at home without supervision as she fled the area with Martinez. McClung also alleged that Madl was heading south, most likely to Mexico, and that she is a flight risk.
Madl’s attorney said her client left the children with their father and was unaware that he left them with a babysitter. Judge Susan Green denied the request and kept Madl’s bail at $250,000, calling her a flight risk and potential danger to the public.
Madl’s next appearance is scheduled for June 26. Martinez will return to court on July 12.