An Alameda woman was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting a man during an argument inside his RV in Oakland’s Meadow Brook neighborhood two years ago. Victoria Martinez, 23, pleaded no contest last month to first-degree murder for the death of 44-year-old Curtis Williams in the 2400 block of 24th Avenue in the early morning hours of July 5, 2012.
According to prosecutor Tim Wagstaffe, Martinez decided to kill Williams and waited for him outside his RV the night of July 4, 2012. When Williams returned home after midnight, Martinez tied him up, shot him and beat him in the head with a hard object, Wagstaffe said. Williams’ body wasn’t found until about 11 p.m. on July 6, 2012. Martinez’s lawyer, Thomas Worthington, said today that Martinez killed Williams because “she was not acting rationally” because she was in “a terrible frame of mind” due to the tragic circumstances in her life.
Worthington said those circumstances included the fact that Martinez had been molested as a child, that she had a short and unhappy marriage when she was a teenager and then became completely exhausted by taking care of her mother, an invalid, at her family’s home in Alameda. Martinez entered her plea just before jury selection was to begin for her trial.
She could have faced 50 years to life in state prison if she’d been convicted of first-degree murder and an enhancement clause of using a gun to kill Williams. But her plea called for her to receive the lesser term of 25 years to life because prosecutors agreed to dismiss the firearm use clause.
After Martinez entered her plea, Worthington said if the case had gone to trial he would have argued that she suffered from intimate partner battering, as she and Williams were in a relationship and used methamphetamine together, and that she should be convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter, not murder.
Worthington alleged that Williams introduced Martinez to methamphetamine and said her judgment was badly impaired after she became addicted to the drug. However, Worthington admitted that Martinez had confessed to police and had told people shortly before the shooting that she would kill Williams.
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