General Crime

Gabriel Martinez Guilty of Manslaughter in Death of Lisa Groveman

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A Monterey County Superior Court Judge Friday found a man guilty of manslaughter in the death of a woman he met at a bar and had sex with after feeding her prescription drugs, the district attorney’s office said. Judge Julie Culver found Gabriel Martinez guilty of manslaughter, three counts of furnishing narcotics and two counts of inflicting great bodily injury in the death of Lisa Groveman, the district attorney’s office said. Prosecutors said that Groveman, 30, of Monterey, met Martinez, 37, of Paradise, at a bar in downtown Monterey on June 9, 2011.

Martinez was working throughout the state with pharmacies to throw out expired prescription drugs and offered some of the drugs to Groveman, prosecutors said. Over the course of the night, Groveman became intoxicated on alcohol and from drugs given to her by Martinez, including seven methadone pills and five Vicodin pills, prosecutors said. Martinez took Groveman to her apartment and had sex with her, then noticed she started having trouble breathing before she passed out.

Instead of calling for emergency help, Martinez put Groveman’s clothes back on her, left her unconscious in her bed and went out to buy donuts, prosecutors said Groveman died in her bed from a build up of fluid in her lungs, the Monterey County coroner’s office said. A coroner’s examiner reported Groveman had a high amount of alcohol in her blood, lethal amounts of methadone and toxic levels of hydrocodone when she died, and that Martinez could have saved her if he had called for aid.

The district attorney’s office, however, reported finding no evidence that Martinez intended or wanted to kill her. Martinez faces a maximum penalty of 11 years and eight months in prison at his sentencing hearing set for Feb. 26. Prosecutors opted not to pursue second-degree murder charges after the defendant agreed to let them admit a recorded statement from a key witness who was out of the country during the trial. Martinez’s waiver of his right to a jury trial also contributed to the decision by prosecutors to charge him with manslaughter, the district attorney’s office said.

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