Woman charged with family murder gives double thumbs-up in court

2017-07-08 08:52
Isabel Martinez gestures towards cameras during her first court appearance after allegedly murdering four of her children and their father in the American state of Georgia. (John Bazemore, AP)

Isabel Martinez gestures towards cameras during her first court appearance after allegedly murdering four of her children and their father in the American state of Georgia. (John Bazemore, AP)

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Lawrenceville - A woman charged with killing four of her young children and their father in the American state of Georgia smiled and flashed a double thumbs up to news cameras during her first court appearance on Friday before telling a judge she doesn't want an attorney.

An immigration official said the woman, who is from Mexico, entered the US illegally.

Isabel Martinez, 33, appeared before Gwinnett County Magistrate Court Judge Michael Thorpe a day after police said she stabbed the five to death and seriously injured another child at her home outside Atlanta. The injured child, a 9-year-old girl, survived but remained in hospital with injuries police described as serious.

Before the hearing began, Martinez sat with other inmates and struck poses for cameras - smiling, giving the thumbs up, putting her hands in a prayer position and spreading her arms out wide.

As Judge Thorpe listed the charges against her - five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault -  Martinez smiled, shook her head "no" and wagged her finger at him. The judge advised her sharply not to perform for the cameras.

Some neighbours in the small, largely Hispanic neighbourhood in Loganville, about 48km east of Atlanta, said they had no clue anything was amiss in the home until police mobbed the scene on Thursday morning. The neighbours said the Spanish-speaking family had moved to the community recently and their children seemed happy playing with other neighbourhood kids.

Early indications are that a knife was used to attack the five, though a medical examiner will make the final determination about the cause of death.

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