A Durango man convicted of first-degree murder tried to fire his attorneys Thursday at the La Plata County Courthouse in a hearing to review a competency report requested by public defenders.
Silvino Martinez-Perez demanded District Court Judge Suzanne Carlson allow him to dismiss his public defenders Jonathan Jourdane and John Moran and represent himself, expressing a desire to get the case over with. Carlson denied his request, citing Jourdane’s demand for a second competency interview and a competency hearing.
Martinez-Perez was scheduled for sentencing in November, but the hearing was continued after Moran suggested his client may not be competent to understand the proceedings. The medical analysis, which is not available to the public, found Martinez-Perez competent, but Jourdane asked Carlson to continue the case to get a second opinion.
Martinez-Perez, who needed a English-to-Spanish translator to fully understand the hearing, told Carlson he wanted to move forward with sentencing.
“I need justice and I’m here for that,” he said into a microphone without consulting his attorney. “(Waiting means) more time that those kids have to wait for justice for the death of their mother.”
In 2017, Martinez-Perez admitted in a 911 call that he had strangled his wife, Crystal Martinez-Perez, 33, after a lengthy argument about a divorce. The couple had three children, all younger than 10 at the time of the murder.
Martinez-Perez cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation, even offering incriminating evidence that may have not been discovered otherwise, including that he had sex with his wife’s body after she died.
The public defenders representing him argued throughout Martinez-Perez’s trial that he had acted under intense emotional distress and did not plan the attack. First-degree murder conviction requires a finding of premeditation in the accused.
Jurors convicted Martinez-Perez of first-degree murder, abusing a corpse and three counts of child abuse. They could have convicted him of lesser counts, including second-degree murder, manslaughter or criminal negligence resulting in homicide.
Martinez-Perez is scheduled to next appear in court the afternoon of May 9.