Court set for deadly hit & run, but victim's family calls it 'justice delayed'
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Ten days afterward, his extended family visits the site on 7th Avenue in Eastdale, where 27-year-old Martin Martinez lost his life.
Words aren't enough. His mother kneels on the pavement, where crime-scene tape marks the point of impact.
"We were hoping for anything, anything, Martinez' brother Tobias says. "We're trying to get justice for my brother."
Two hours earlier, Hamilton County General Sessions Court had allowed them to stare down the distant cousin, whom police say ran him over, then backed back over him, and killed him. But they couldn't confront Alicia Eliza Miguel, 25, with any evidence.
"Everybody came," Tobi Martinez says. "A lot of our witnesses, the witnesses for the case, a lot of family. Family was trying to see anything, hear anything."
The shrine on 7th Avenue hints at the crimes prosecutors allege. They believe that Miguel, her boyfriend, and Martinez had been drinking and arguing.
They've charged Miguel with vehicular homicide by intoxication, driving under the influence and leaving a scene involving death.
Tuesday's disappointment would come in a matter of legal procedure.
"It seems that both the state and the defense are not prepared today to go to court on this case," Sessions Judge Bob Moon says. "They've not had the time to review the testimony, nor to be prepared to cross-examine witnesses."
"All the family is from out of state," Tobi Martinez says. "We're all leaving out tomorrow and today we were hoping for some kind of result."
'Home' means Los Angeles, Oregon, or Florida. All the family members drove to Chattanooga for the funeral Monday. Try to make them understand the delays, and much is lost in the translation.
"If you have all the witnesses who live all the way across the country," Judge Moon begins before a relative interrupts him for third time; "Ma'am, would you be quiet at least, to hear what I'm trying to tell you?"
Once the Judge clears the air, the Martinez' realize Miguel won't return to court until October 4. She remains in Silverdale on $220,000 bond.
"I do not expect the case to be continued again," Judge Moon admonishes the attorneys.
It's little consolation for a family seeking consolation beyond flowers and candles.
"We're devastated," Tobi Martinez says. "We were hoping to get something today."