Schenectady County

Retrial opens in 2013 Schenectady slaying

Emmanuel Martinez methodically open fire on a Schenectady party in August 2013, hours after a fight

Emmanuel Martinez methodically open fire on a Schenectady party in August 2013, hours after a fight with his two main victims, a prosecutor told a jury Wednesday.

Martinez left the fight, walked home, then took a cab to the party where he knew his victims would be and started shooting, prosecutor Brian Gray told the jury in opening statements at Martinez’ murder trial.

Martinez is accused of killing Jose “Mickey” Torres and wounding Torres’ brother Luis Gomez the evening of Aug. 30, 2013, at a Becker Street residence.

Martinez’s defense attorney, Mark Gaylord, asked the jury to keep an open mind and stated that prosecutors won’t prove their case.

If the details sound familiar, they should be: It’s Martinez’s second trial on murder and other charges related to the shooting.

He was initially tried last summer, but more than two weeks into the trial, a juror caused a mistrial during deliberations by failing to return to court.

That meant the entire trial had to be started over. It began again Monday with the start of jury selection. Selection was completed Wednesday morning.

With the retrial comes a new judge, prosecutor and defense attorney.

The original judge, Richard Giardino, has since retired. The original prosecutor, Peter Willis, now handles appeals for his office. At the first trial, Martinez’s family had paid for his attorney, Cheryl Coleman. But they couldn’t pay her for a second trial.

Appointed to represent Martinez in his second trial was Gaylord. Presiding over the case is Judge Michael Coccoma and prosecuting now is Gray.

Also different this time: Gray told the jury that a jailhouse informant is expected to testify. Gray said the informant will testify to details of the crime that Martinez admitted to him and said the informant could have gotten those details only from Martinez.

Gray described the initial fight as being precipitated by allegations of an affair, that Martinez took the worst of the fight and then sought out Torres and Gomez on Becker Street.

Gray also highlighted surveillance video of the initial confrontation and of Martinez going to the shooting scene, just before the shooting, as well as cellphone data that confirm Martinez was in the area.

Gaylord countered that none of the evidence will put Martinez’ finger on the trigger during the shooting.

The first trial ended in August after the juror failed to show up for the second or third days of deliberation. The jury couldn’t continue without her because the remaining alternate juror had been dismissed as per state rules.

The absentee juror was found in contempt of court and fined $1,000 but given no jail time. The judge found she willfully disobeyed an order to appear, but also cited a significant history of mental health problems outlined during a lengthy hearing in deciding against giving her jail time. She had faced up to 30 days in jail.

Martinez remains in custody.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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