Put on Suicide Watch

Pleads not guilty to attempted murder in stab case

    Sabas Martinez, the East Hampton man police said shot and stabbed the mother of his children on Feb. 13, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder last Thursday in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead. He is accused of shooting Noemi Sanchez with a pellet gun and stabbing her in the head. The charge of attempted murder came after a grand jury indictment on Feb. 18.
    Mr. Martinez has already pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree assault and burglary, which are felonies, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, and two counts of child endangerment, also a misdemeanor.
    Judge William J. Condon ordered that he be held without bail. “There is a severe risk of flight,” Caren Manzello, an assistant district attorney, said. Mr. Martinez has been in the Suffolk County jail since last week and has been put on suicide watch, Ed Vitale, his legal aid lawyer, told the court.
    Mr. Martinez, a citizen of Mexico, is expected to remain in jail and is awaiting a deportation hearing. Nevertheless, Judge Condon issued two orders of protection for Ms. Sanchez. They will remain in effect until February 2012. Ms. Sanchez was treated at Stony Book University Medical Center after she was attacked. She was subsequently released.
    Mr. Martinez appeared in court last Thursday wearing a white turtleneck under a dark blue sweater. He walked with his head down, and kept it down as an interpreter spoke into his ear. He was released from handcuffs just long enough to sign the orders of protection. His charges were read by the assistant district attorney and translated into Spanish.
    Ms. Manzello took Judge Conlon through a series of events leading to the Feb. 13 attack, in which Mr. Martinez is alleged to have stabbed Ms. Sanchez, the mother of the couple’s 11, 16, and 22-year-old daughters.
    Mr. Martinez, described as a convicted felon, asked Ms. Sanchez if he could move in with her and the children at their house on Squaw Road, East Hampton, after he was released from prison in October, Ms. Manzello said. They had lived in the house for three years but Mr. Martinez never had, she said. Ms. Sanchez said no, according to the assistant district attorney. On Feb. 5, however, Mr. Martinez sent Ms. San­chez a text message saying “she would regret that decision,” Ms. Manz­ello said.
    Late on the night on Feb. 12, Mr. Martinez allegedly broke into the Squaw Road house and waited for Ms. Sanchez to return from a night out. Their daughters were asleep. The alleged attack occurred when she got home at about 1:30 a.m. The couple’s 16-year-old daughter disarmed her father, police said, but after finding another knife, Mr. Martinez slashed his own neck and wrists. Police arrived shortly afterward.
    Ms. Manzello said Mr. Martinez had been arrested 10 times, including 3 arrests on driving while intoxicated charges, 2 probation revocations, and 3 times related to warrants issued for failing to appear in court on other charges. Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have placed a hold on him. He is due back in County Court on March 24.