National News

Attorney appointed for mother charged with stabbing 4 children, husband to death

Posted July 11

— An attorney has been appointed to represent the mother accused of stabbing her husband and four kids to death - despite her insistence that she didn't need one.

Attorney Robert Greenwald has been appointed to represent Isabel Cartuno Martinez, 33, according to court records.

"The court appointed me out of an abundance of caution," Greenwald said. "Obviously, the charges are quite serious, so it's not in her best interest to represent herself."

As of Monday, he had filed to have a psychological evaluation performed on Martinez. He also told the Daily Post he plans to file a motion to move her July 20 preliminary hearing to a later date to give time for her evaluation to go through.

Police showed up at Martinez's home on Emory Lane in unincorporated Loganville on July 6 at 4:47 a.m. after a woman called 911 from inside the house to say that several people had been stabbed. The caller may have been Martinez, police said.

When officers arrived, they found Martin Romero, 33, stabbed to death. They also found the bodies of four children - Isabel Martinez, 10, Dacota Romero, 7, Dillian Romero, 4, and Axel Romero, 2.

Police also found Diana Martinez, 9, suffering from serious stab wounds. She was taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where her condition has been improving. Gwinnett County police said she was awake and talking as of Friday afternoon.

Martinez was arrested and charged with the stabbings. In a bizarre first appearance on July 7, she continuously refused a court-appointed attorney, even though she qualified for one. She said she wanted to represent herself.

"My attorney is the people that we're fighting for," Martinez said. "That's the hope. It's always the hope, because that's the last thing that dies. You are the hope of the world, each one of you."

The judge advised her several times that she should accept an attorney. He even told her that if she wanted to represent herself, the court could provide an attorney to "advise her on court proceedings."

But Martinez continued to shake her head. She even wagged her finger and at one point gave multiple thumps-up signs to the news cameras assembled at the hearing.

Greenwald said he can't speculate as to what might happen as a result of Martinez's psychological evaluation. He's also not sure when her preliminary hearing will be at this point.

"Anything is possible," he said. "We don't know until we see what we have here."

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