FLORENCE — After mulling the decision for several months, the prosecution will not seek the death penalty against Marcos Martinez of Maricopa.

Martinez, 23, is charged with first-degree murder for the brutal stabbing death of his grandmother, Vicky Ten Hoven, whose body was found in a pool of blood in the kitchen of her Maricopa home on Jan. 28, 2018.

Speaking to PinalCentral in May, Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer described his process for determining whether to seek the death penalty as extensive. He listens to opinions from his deputy attorneys and law enforcement, and he gives considerable weight to the wishes of the victim’s family.

“After reviewing all of the relevant information, including the defendant’s mental health history and all mitigation provided, this office has concluded that seeking capital punishment was not in the interest of justice,” Volkmer said in a statement Wednesday.

The mental health component adds a layer of complexity to the case.

According to police reports, people close to Martinez, including family members, said he had mental problems. He was admitted to Chandler Regional Medical Center for a mental evaluation in May 2017. The admission occurred shortly after he was a driver involved in a hit-and-run.

A medical report from the hospital stated Martinez’s family members were afraid of him, adding the family had verified that Martinez told police he had “voices that told him to run a red light,” which led to the car wreck.

“Given this I do feel he is a threat to others,” the report stated. “I suspect there is a primary psychiatric disease.”

An employee of the hospital met with Ten Hoven and was quoted in the report saying, “(Ten Hoven) reports that they have become very frightened of (Martinez). They report that they are watched by (Martinez) frequently and it scares them. They feel that (Martinez) could hurt them.”

The report rated Martinez as a “high” danger to others.

When Martinez was taken into custody, police said he displayed odd behavior, including rambling about things that made no sense and asking officers if they heard a specific noise, stating the noise was his nose opening and closing.

Martinez is scheduled for a pretrial conference before Superior Court Judge Jason Holmberg on July 12 at 9 a.m.


Brian Wright is the sports editor at PinalCentral. He can be reached at bwright@pinalcentral.com.