Justice Served! Father Convicted of Starving 6-year-old Son to Death

Justice Served! Father Convicted of Starving 6-year-old Son to Death

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.- A man from northern Arizona was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder and other offenses in the 2020 starving death of his 6-year-old son.

According to authorities, the child, Deshaun Martinez, was kept in a tiny bedroom closet for 16 hours each day for a month alongside his elder brother as punishment for stealing food at night while their parents slept. A jury in Coconino County Superior Court found Anthony Martinez, 28, guilty of the boy’s death. Martinez was also found guilty of two counts each of child abuse, kidnapping, and aggravated assault on law enforcement officers. Sentencing is scheduled for June 28.

An autopsy revealed that the boy weighed only 18 pounds (8.1 kilograms) when he died, well below the average for his age. The method of death was listed as homicide.

The conviction on Thursday was the second in the case. Elizabeth Archibeque, the boy’s mother, pled guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse and was sentenced in July 2023 to life in prison without the chance of release.

During closing arguments last week, defense attorney Joseph Carver told jurors that Archibeque dominated the couple’s relationship and Anthony Martinez never made independent decisions about parenting their children, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

However, prosecutor Michael Tunink stated that all of the evidence in the case led to Martinez causing and maintaining the boys’ condition, according to the newspaper.

Flagstaff police reported finding the 6-year-old motionless after his paternal grandmother, Ann Martinez, contacted 911 on March 2, 2020, stating that the younger grandson seemed to be dead.

Ann Martinez has pleaded not guilty to many charges, including child abuse for disciplining the boys by reportedly beating them with a coat hanger. Her trial is planned for August.

Archibeque and Anthony Martinez initially ascribed their sons’ malnutrition to a medical problem and many weeks of taking diet or caffeinated tablets.

According to the Arizona Daily Sun, Anthony Martinez informed officials that the boys ate nothing but oatmeal and bread for breakfast and lunch. Martinez allegedly admitted to sitting next to the closet and playing video games to keep the boys from getting out, according to the newspaper.

According to police, Deshaun Martinez and his then-7-year-old brother were locked in the closet from 8 p.m. to noon every day for a month with little food and were barred from attending school.

According to investigators, the closet was coated with an orange plastic sheet that smelled like urine.

The older boy survived but weighed only 28 pounds (12.7 kilograms) when authorities discovered him. He was taken to the hospital and recovered after nearly three weeks of therapy.

Police stated the couple’s other two children, daughters aged 2 and 4 in 2020, were healthy and weight proportionate, with no limitations at home.

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