Texas Teen Charged with Capital Murder of Friend’s Mother

A Texas teenager, charged with capital murder after allegedly stabbing his friend’s mother to death, is being held without bail at the Harris County Jail.

Mauricio Navarette-Torres, 18, appeared Thursday before Judge Kelli Johnson of the 178th Criminal Court. She heard allegations that the teen purportedly burglarized the home of Christine Martinez, 37, when he reportedly stabbed her to death last Friday. The body of this mother of four was found by two of her sons at roughly 2 a.m., February 3, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Martinez’s 20-year-old son told police he went to pick up his younger brother from work around midnight and when they returned, they discovered their mother’s lifeless body stabbed multiple times in the bedroom of her Houston area home made possible by Habitat for Humanity Northwest Harris County.

Investigators found a bedroom window open and it appeared the alleged assailant forced his way into the home. Martinez’s sons also told authorities that valuables were missing from the house. Navarette-Torres was a friend and co-worker of one of the victim’s sons. They told officers the suspect had been to the house before and allegedly knew where the family kept valuables. Still, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has not yet issued a possible motive for the murder.

Previously, Navarette-Torres was not present at his probable cause hearing, according to KPRC. On Thursday, he entered the courtroom handcuffed, wearing an orange jumpsuit, and showing little emotion. Investigators said the teen confessed to the murder in a statement.

His defense attorney, Emily Detoto, however, said otherwise, presenting him as a shy kid who lives with his mother and collects comic books.

Said Detoto: “I’m really hesitant to call a statement a confession until I’ve seen it or heard it myself and even if it was a confession, which I doubt it was, if it wasn’t properly obtained and he didn’t knowingly and willingly waive his rights, it probably wouldn’t be admissible anyway.”

Detoto added Navarette-Torres is a “scared 18-year-old kid accused of murdering his best friend’s mother,” which she maintained he did not do. She told reporters if Navarette-Torres is found guilty, the court will not likely seek the death penalty.

Last week, KPRC reported Habitat For Humanity Northwest Harris County released a statement after learning about Martinez’s murder.

Habitat for Humanity Northwest Harris County is deeply sadden(ed) to learn about this tragedy. Christine was a part of our Habitat family. She will be missed. We send our heart-felt condolences to her loved ones.

Navarette-Torres remains at the Harris County Jail held without bail on the capital murder charge. His next court appearance is set for April 11.

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