Leadville’s “one-man crime wave” sentenced to three years in prison
May 25, 2018
A Leadville man who avoided prison for more than a decade despite multiple criminal convictions was sentenced to three years in the Department of Corrections on Thursday, May 24, for a probation violation related to a 2013 assault that left a man with permanent brain damage.
Santiago Martinez, 38, has been on probation in Lake County since 2004 for felony assault and theft, both class-four felonies, and owes more than $11,000 in fines from a 2009 case, the District Attorney's Office said in a news release. Prosecutors had requested an 11-year sentence, calling Martinez a "one-man crime wave."
Martinez's long path to prison included a stint in community corrections in 2005 for a probation violation and another felony assault in 2008, for which he was granted probation. He was re-granted probation after another violation in 2009 but continued to reoffend, the DA's office said.
A Summit County jury convicted Martinez of third-degree assault last March for his role in a 2013 fight outside the Manhattan Bar in Leadville that left a man with severe brain damage. Judge Mark Thompson sentenced Martinez to 60 days in jail with work release and four years probation the following month, citing the limited evidence presented at trial.
"The question remains, quite frankly, unsolved," Thompson said during the sentencing hearing. "In some respects the evidence is very limited."
The offense, however, was yet another probation violation for Martinez, who prosecutors describe as a serial reoffender and nuisance to the Lake County community.
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"How a scourge like (Martinez) has been able to skirt accountability for so long is not a particularly flattering reflection on our criminal justice system," DA Bruce Brown said in a statement. "When you think of the old adage that 'justice delayed is justice denied,' it is nightmare scenarios like this that come to mind. We asked the Judge today to impose an 11-year sentence because we feel the community needs a break from this one-man crime wave. While we always hope for the very best in treatment outcomes, Martinez has been a drain on society for a long, long time."
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