San Antonio man accused in murder-suicide attempt goes on trial

February 8, 2019

The daughter of a San Antonio man accused of fatally shooting his common-law wife in 2016 testified Friday that her father pointed a rifle at her mother the night before she died.

Gabriel Martinez, 37, is accused of shooting his wife, Lori Lee Ortiz, three times with a rifle before shooting himself in the abdomen on May 18, 2016. Ortiz, 35, died shortly after arriving at University Hospital. Martinez, who was critically injured and underwent surgery, was booked by proxy while he was hospitalized.

Martinez pleaded not guilty before Judge Ron Rangel as his trial began Friday.

San Antonio police were called about 9:30 p.m. that day in May to investigate a double-shooting at a home in the 7000 block of Myrtle Valley Street on the Southwest Side.

Brianna Martinez, 18, who called 911 after the shooting, told the jury that things had been normal between her parents until her father accused her mother of having an affair in the weeks leading up to her death.

She said the night before the shooting was the first time she saw her father with a gun.

“I heard them arguing and I got up and went into the kitchen. They were sitting down, my father and mother, with a glass of alcohol between them, the gun was at the front of the table,” she said. “He picked it up and pointed it toward her. I was frightened. The only thing I said was ‘stop.’ ”

Police recovered an AK-47 rifle with a pistol grip by the closet in the couple’s bedroom, which was shown to the jury Friday.

“This case comes down to ’If I can’t have you, no one else can,” prosecutor Jennifer Brown told the jury in her opening statement.

She told the panel Ortiz was going to school and was dating someone else before Gabriel Martinez shot “the mother of his three children,” Brown said.

Martinez’s attorney Miguel Najera told the judge he would provide an opening statement when the defense begins presenting their case.

Det. Jeremy Goodwin, a patrol officer at the time and among the first officers on scene, told the jury Ortiz had numerous gunshot wounds, and when she was moved, “the insides of her body came out of the numerous holes in her body.”

Det. Jesse Arteaga, who also was on patrol at the time, testified that Brianna Martinez led him to the room where the couple were when he arrived. He said Ortiz was face down and still on the floor when he saw her, and Martinez was wounded but moving, the rifle near his body, which officers secured.

Under cross-examination, Arteaga told Najera that Gabriel Martinez told him his wife had shot him.

Neighbors interviewed at the time of the shooting said the couple had been high school sweethearts and had lived in the neighborhood since 2005.

The case is being heard in the 379th state District Court.

If convicted of murder, Martinez faces five to 99 years or life in prison.

Elizabeth Zavala is a courts and crime reporter in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | ezavala@express-news.net | Twitter: @elizabeth2863