Something’s Fishy Here

Here’s the story:

A Jefferson County judge has dismissed a manslaughter charge against a Trussville teenager involved in a fatal wreck that killed a father and daughter and seriously injured a mother, court records show.

Edgar Martinez, 19, was charged with two counts of manslaughter, one count of first-degree assault and felony leaving the scene of an accident.

In a preliminary hearing Tuesday, District Judge Sheldon Watkins dismissed all charges except leaving the scene of an accident.

Testimony in the hearing showed that Martinez was a part of a chain-reaction wreck that started when a vehicle in front of Martinez’ suddenly slammed on its brakes.

Martinez veered and the vehicle in front of him struck an SUV containing the victims, Kenneth Weant, 55; Shirley Weant, age unavailable, and their daughter, Ashley Weant.

If this summary is accurate, why in the world was he charged with manslaughter or assault? He did not hit the other car, and I can’t imagine how anything he did caused the car in front of him to hit another car. 

And for the judge to have dismissed the case at a preliminary hearing, there must not have been any connection between him and the deaths. All the state has to do is establish probably cause. Normally, it’s such a rubber stamp procedure that defense attorneys treat it as nothing more than a chance to get some information about the state’s case. So when a judge does toss a case, it means there was no case at all.

Which makes me wonder what the real reason for the charges was.   

Explore posts in the same categories: Trials

11 Comments on “Something’s Fishy Here”

  1. Dan Says:

    He is an immigrant.

  2. Kathy Says:

    Ah. That explains it. I wondered, given the name. Good on the judge for throwing out the charges.

  3. Stefanie Says:

    He was charged with manslaughter because there was a witness that saw him RACING down the road with the SUV. The other teenager involved in the wreck driving the SUV was his COUSIN that he was racing with! I think BOTH of them should be prosecuted with manslaughter charges. Before Martinez turned himself in the connection had not been made that the two were cousins, and the driver of the SUV told police he had no idea who the other driver was.

  4. Matt Says:

    Well that is the first that I have heard of the reasoning. Surprising, since I was one of those involved in the chain reaction wreck. If he wasn’t the cause of the wreck, why did he leave?

  5. Wheeler Says:

    “If he wasn’t the cause of the wreck, why did he leave?”

    1) he did not see it, or,

    2) he did not know he had a duty to stop, or,

    3) though he did not cause the wreck, he was afraid he would be accused of causing it, or,

    4) he’s just a jerk who would rather get where he’s going than stop to help out.

  6. Gayle Says:

    The reason he left the scene of the accident was that he saw the carnage that he had left in his wake after he sideswiped his cousin(whom he was racing with) knocking the SUV headon into the Maxima holding the Weants–he then ditched his vehicle and evaded police for 3 days before turning himself in with his lawyer in tow

  7. Wheeler Says:

    that’s your version. apparently the court found the facts to be different.

    and i hope of you are ever dragged into court you have the good sense to hire a lawyer, too.

  8. My name is Shirley Weant. This is the first time I have had a chance to look at this website. My whole family was killed in the wreck caused by two cousins racing. Ashley was 20 and a student at Auburn. She was to graduate this month. She wanted to be a pharmacist. She had dreams of becoming a wife and mother someday. Kenneth was 55 and had worked hard all his life. He was looking foward to retiring in afew years. The cousins were racing. It was the last thing I saw. The last words Ashley spoke was see the lights. One of the drivers had no drivers licenses and no insurance. God spared my life ,and I believe it was for me to be able to tell what really happened the night of July 8th 2006. One of the drivers ran and left Ashley and Kenneth dead and me severly injured. They show no remorse for their actions.

  9. Stefanie Tidwell-Colburn Says:

    That’s right, Shirley. And, I will be right there standing with you in court the day judgement is handing down. It doesn’t matter what these people say or think, very few, if any of them can ever grasp the true ramifications of that horrible night.
    For all those trying to justify the dismissal of the case in the fist place, keep in mind…
    there was not a more life-deserving person in this world than Ashley & Kenneth was one of the best dads in the world. Not only were they both taken from Shirley, but everyone who knew them lost a whole lot. Now, I have had my first son, a best friend who has been there with me since 6th grade cannot even be here with me now. My son will never have a chance to get to know someone who had already fallen in love with him.

  10. Law Enforcement Analyst Says:

    There is nothing fishy about this case.

    This case is a tragedy – two lives lost because of an act of Road Rage. Both Martinez and Calles were convicted of two counts of Vehicular Homicide, and one count of Vehicular Assault. Calles, coward that he is, tried to walk out of his trial, and flee to Mexico, but he was caught by the US Marshals Task Force. He is currently in the Jefferson County Jail. I hope both Martinez and Calles get long sentences.

    God rest Kenneth and Ashley Weant, and may he hold them both in the palm of His hand. And may God give strength to Shirley, that she may face all the days ahead with the assurance that she will see her loved ones again on the other side of the curtain.

    State to Rest in Martinez Case
    Written by Tina Tidmore

    The State plans to rest on Friday morning in the case against Gumaro Calles and Edgar Martinez. Both are charged with Reckless Manslaughter, two counts, and Assault. Martinez has the additional charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

    The charges are tied to an accident in July 2006 where Kenneth Weant and Ashley Weant died. Shirley Weant received injuries requiring LifeSaver helicopter transport.

    Two witnesses testified on Wednesday saying they saw the white Marquis, now known to have been driven by Martinez, to be weaving in and out of lanes and driving faster than other traffic. Martinez and Calles are cousins and were both at the Trussville theatres that night. They both left the theatre parking lot about the same time. The witnesses said they did not notice the car Calles was driving, a Suburban, but were paying attention to the Marquis because they felt it was driving dangerously. Caitlyn Kilgore, who was a passenger in the Suburban, said the two left the theatre parking lot at the same time.

    Shirley Weant testified to what she saw before the accident and how she came to discover, while in the car, that her husband was dead. As she described the damage done to the bodies of her dead family members, many in the courtroom, including the court reporter, cried. At some points, Mrs. Weant could not be understood because of her emotions. She was comforted by the prosecuting attorney twice. The defense attorneys did not question Mrs. Weant.

    Kilgore, a 15-year-old student at Rudd, was a passenger in Suburban driven by Calles. At that time, she was 13. While testifying, she said her July 12, 2006 statement to the detective in the case had six lies. She said Calles promised to pay her $5,000 if she would lie about the accident. At first, she said a Camaro was involved in the accident also. Later that was found to not be true.

    In Thursday’s testimony, a “black box”, which came from the air bag compartment of the Suburban, was discussed. According to accident experts, the black box revealed that Calles was traveling at 68 mph when it struck the Weant’s car, according to some in the audience who were listening to the testimony.

    All agree that the Marquis and the Suburban were traveling northwest on Chalkville Mountain Road with the Marquis behind the Suburban at the time of the accident. The Marquis struck the back of the Suburban left front bumper to right rear bumper. Some testimony was that the two cars collided again when they were beside each other, the Marquis being to the right of the Suburban. The Suburban then went into the Weant’s car, a Nissan Maxima, which was traveling in the opposite direction in the left lane. Another car struck the Maxima from behind.

  11. Law Enforcement Analyst Says:

    In reviewing my records, I see that Gumaro Calles was sentenced to 25 years in prison. His release date is projected to be 04/29/2031. Naturally, this sentence will not bring anyone back, but it does represent a stab at justice.

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