Bexar County DA responds to criticism over 15-year plea deal offered in death of SAISD detective

Alfredo Martinez-Contreras will be sentenced on April 24

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales on Tuesday responded to harsh criticism from the family of a slain school district police officer over a plea deal given to a defendant in a capital murder case.

On Monday, Alfredo Martinez-Contreras received a 15-year plea deal on a lesser charge of assault of a peace officer in connection with the December 2019 death of SAISD Detective Cliff Martinez.

The detective’s brother, Dennis Martinez, told KSAT that the family was upset with the plea deal and with the way the district attorney’s office handled the case.

Gonzales and the prosecutor, Jeff Mulliner, said that the case against Alfredo Martinez-Contreras should have never been a capital murder case in the first place, as there was no evidence showing the suspect in the vehicle that ran over Martinez.

“The evidence that we have is it was in dispute whether or not he was even at the scene, we believe this defendant had already left the scene,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said he took offense to several of Dennis Martinez’s statements made in Monday’s report, including his assertion that the district attorney’s office had no interest in pursuing this case.

Gonzales: “Not only did we have a very strong interest in pursuing this case, but we had a very personal interest because the victim in this case, Cliff, was the best friend of one of our investigators. And we actually went to the funeral. I have been monitoring this case from the time that it was filed in our office.”

Dennis Martinez also said that Mulliner told the family last week that it didn’t matter what the family wanted. Here’s Mulliner’s response to that statement:

Mulliner: I’m troubled because I know that if he was really listening to me, I never said anything like that. I hope that he will pause and reflect and refresh his recollection, that what they think always mattered, always mattered a great deal. But their desire for the case to proceed in the manner that they had wished for or hoped for, I was going to be unable to satisfy that.”

As far as his support of law enforcement, Gonzales said he took offense to Dennis Martinez saying he didn’t support the police.

Gonzales: “We are very supportive of law enforcement, and we will do everything we can when we can to prosecute people that commit crimes against members of law enforcement. I take a little issue with somebody saying that we’re not supportive of law enforcement because we are. And that’s another point I wanted to make clear to the family and to the public.”

When asked if he felt justice was served for Det. Martinez, Gonzales said, “no.”

Gonzales: “I certainly would have liked to have gotten a potential life sentence for the family. I would like to have been able to sit here and say, ‘I’ll take solace in the fact that this man is going to prison for a very long time.’ We can’t say that because of the reality of this case. We have to make decisions that we believe are in the best interest of the memory of a victim like this. And in the interest of justice and that’s what I believe we did in this case.”

Gonzales said he will meet with the family again on April 24 when sentencing takes place for Martinez-Contreras.

Related:

‘We hold the D.A. accountable’: Family of SAISD detective killed in 2019 upset over plea deals


About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.