H-SANTA MARIA

Mar 25, 2013 7:40 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Isaac Martinez sentenced to 75 years to life for murdering wife

Isaac Martinez, the Santa Maria gang member who shot and killed his estranged wife, Maria Estrada Martinez, was sentenced on Monday to 75 years to life in prison for the murder.

On August 5, 2011, 34-year old Martinez, followed 35-year old Maria to a convenience store near McElhaney and Broadway in Santa Maria and shot her twice in the chest, in broad daylight.

Maria's aunt, Elva Lopez, spoke to KSBY about the sentencing and said, "some of the family is happy with it, some wish it were the death penalty."

Lopez said Maria was an amazing daughter, mother, and friend. She said Maria's laughter was contagious, but she said Maria had been wrapped up in years of abuse from Martinez.

She said, "We were surprised about all the abuse that she endured. You know, the beatings, he cracked her nose one time, and I'm so glad that she went to the shelter, and it's so important that she sat down with her daughters and told them that this is no way to live, and no more abuse."

In court on Monday, Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen played voicemails that Martinez left Maria in the days before he shot and killed her. Most of it is filled with explicit language and derogatory terms against Maria and her children. The most damning piece of audio that Bramsen wanted Judge Rick Brown and the court to hear, was a phone conversation Martinez had on July 31, 2011 with his 14-year old son. The conversation took place just five days before Martinez set out to kill Maria. He told his son, "how much you want to bet, I'll kill her right now, and I'll kill you too..."

Maria's family and friends could be heard crying aloud as the recordings played out in court. Martinez showed no emotion as Lopez and one of Maria's former co-workers took to the stand to talk about her.

Lopez said to Martinez, who kept his face forward, that she will continue to pray for him. Martinez chose not to make a statement to the court.

"Never be closure. We're just happy the kids did not have to testify. The kids are the most important thing right now," said Lopez.

Maria leaves behind five children, ranging in age from six to 17-years old; four of whom she shared with Martinez.

Lopez said the family hopes Maria's story is a wake-up call to others in abusive relationships to speak up and get help.

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