Judge denies convicted killer's new trial motion

Miguel Martinez's motion claims prosecutor's comments to jury were inappropriate

SAN ANTONIO – During a brief hearing Thursday, state District Judge W.C. Kirkendall denied convicted killer Miguel Martinez’s motion seeking a new trial.

In August, a jury found Martinez, 30, guilty in the murder of Laura Carter, 33, in January 2015.

According to testimony during the trial, Martinez lured Carter, an admitted heroin addict, to a Southeast Side street to discuss her proposal that they form a drug-dealing partnership.

Martinez was her drug supplier.

Instead of discussing the proposed deal,  Martinez shot her in the head and is suspected of stealing $7,000 she had with her to invest in the partnership.

During jury selection in the trial, special prosecutor Jason Goss told the jury that he had a personal experience with drug addiction. He said that his brother, a recovering heroin addict, was addicted for many years.

At Thursday’s hearing, Martinez’s attorney, Joel Perez, argued that it was vindictive and inappropriate for Goss to discuss his personal experience with drug addiction before the jury.

“We believe that, in our opinion, it was an effort to gain the sympathy of the panel and turn the panel against Mr. Martinez,” Perez said afterward.

When asked if his remarks were vindictive, Goss said, “Absolutely not, absolutely not.”

“I, just like many other people in this town and any prosecutors in this office, have personal experiences with family members who have been addicted to drugs,” he said.

Kirkendall denied the motion without comment.

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