“It was terrifying,” the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said in an emotional statement read aloud in court today as hulking career crook John Martinez was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.
“Mr. Martinez seemed off, and unpredictable, and when he looked at my then three-year-old son and threatened to stab him, I believed that he was capable of actually stabbing my little boy,” she said, in a letter read aloud by assistant district attorney James Zaleta.
“To this day, my stomach turns at the idea of what could have happened if our mugging had turned into a home invasion,” said the woman. Martinez had demanded to be let into her apartment, and would have, had the fleet-witted mom not managed to run past him and lock him out after he was distracted by some construction noise in the building.
The hefty prison term covers Martinez’s admitted ice pick muggings of that mom, and of a second terrified mom in separate attacks in Stuyvesant Town elevators last December.
The sentencing also covers the Nov. 2010 knifepoint mugging of a third woman in an elevator at Peter Cooper Village, and the attempted robbery of a fourth woman who ultimately refused to get into a Stuy Town elevator with him.
“I apologize to the people, the victims,” Martinez said at his sentencing, when given the chance to speak on his own behalf. “It was never about them. I thought I was robbing my mom,” he added, bizarrely. “I hope one day I get help.”
“There are certainly some mental health issues,” his lawyer, Liz Beal, told reporters after court, noting that Martinez had in the past been found mentally unfit for trial.
In both Stuy Town ice pick muggings, Martinez robbed his victims in front of their young children. In the first, on Dec. 2 at 17 Stuyvesant Oval, Martinez pulled an ice pick on the mom and threatened to stab her three-year-old son if she didn’t take him back to her family’s apartment for more money.
“My son is still processing what happened that day,” her letter to the judge continued. “It is a year later, and, even after receiving help from a psychologist, he still builds walls with blocks in our apartment so that nobody can come in and take our things,” the letter said.
“We still live in the same building, and I still get flashbacks to what happened when I am in that elevator, and often check to make sure that nobody is behind me before I enter our building.
“One other thing I feel I should mention is that we are Jewish, and he robbed us on the first day of Hannukah. We did not have a holiday last year, as I did not want [my son] to associate the mugging with Hannukah.”
The sentence allows a parole board to free Martinez after 18 years or keep him in prison for as long as the rest of his life.
“With this strong sentence, a dangerous criminal will be kept out of our neighborhood,” said DA Cyrus Vance.