A southern Door County woman will spend the next 3 years in prison in connection with the death of her 8 month old daughter a year ago. Thirty-four year-old Melissa Martinez of Brussels appeared before Judge D. Todd Ehlers who ordered 4 years of extended supervision after her prison term is completed during a court hearing Thursday morning. As part of her sentence, Martinez must also pay court costs, seek counseling and an A.O.D.A. assessment, maintain absolute sobriety, and have an ignition interlock device installed on her vehicle. In addition, she may not frequent bars or taverns during the extended supervision.
Elena Martinez died last October after spending hours in a heated and running SUV. An autopsy indicated that she was a healthy child and died from the effects of hypothermia or fatal heat stroke. Melissa Martinez entered a no contest plea to a charge of causing death by neglect of a child.
Door County District Attorney Ray Pelrine says he agrees with the sentence handed down in the case. Pelrine said it was entirely consistent with his recommendation and the recommendation of the Department of Correction and an exhaustive pre-sentence investigation that was submitted to the court. He was asked if there are lessons to be learned from the tragic loss of Elena Martinez…[audio:http://wdor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Door-County-DA-Ray-Pelrine01.mp3|titles=Door County DA Ray Pelrine]
Pelrine agreed that all of us bear some responsibility in seeing to it that the most vulnerable in our society are protected…
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Testimony during the trial of Melissa Martinez also indicated that the use and abuse of alcohol played a key role in the tragic death of her 8 month old daughter.