Georgia Mom Accused of Stabbing 4 Children, Husband to Death Smiles and Gives Thumbs-Up in Court
Isabel Martinez is accused of fatally stabbing her husband and four of their children, including a 2-year-old, as the lone survivor remains hospitalized
The Georgia mother accused of stabbing her husband and four of their five children to death this week smiled in court on Friday and gave a thumbs-up to photographers as she appeared in front of a judge for the first time since Thursday’s alleged attack.
Isabel Martinez, 33, told Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge Michael Thorpe that she doesn’t want an attorney as she faces multiple murder charges in the deaths of her husband, 33-year-old Martin Romero, and four of their children: Isabela Martinez, 10; Dacota Romero, 7; Dillan Romero, 4 and 2-year-old Axel Romero.
Martinez wagged her finger at the judge and shook her head “no” as Thorpe listed the charges against her, including five counts of murder and malice murder along with six counts of aggravated assault, according to the Associated Press. The judge reportedly told her to stop performing for the cameras.
She reportedly told the judge that the people and her faith would act as her attorney, ABC News reports. However, the judge advised Martinez to hire a lawyer or allow one to be appointed to her, and the court subsequently appointed attorney Robert Greenwald to represent her.
Martinez has not entered a plea. Greenwald, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
The court appearance comes as Martinez’s 9-year-old daughter Diana, the lone survivor of the alleged stabbing rampage, remains hospitalized — and is expected to be so for the next few weeks. A Gwinnett police spokeswoman tells PEOPLE that Diana is “awake and talking.”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Gwinnett County police said they received the call at around 4:45 a.m. and arrived at the family’s Emory Lane home in Loganville to find four young children and one man dead of stab wounds.
“Fortunately, they found one additional child who was still alive suffering from serious conditions,” police told PEOPLE in a statement.
Martinez was immediately taken into custody and a Gwinnett Police Department spokeswoman said the mother was cooperating with police, although a motive for the alleged killings is unclear.
“What prompts a person to take the life of such innocent children and her spouse is something we may never understand,” officials said in the statement.
“This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighborhood and community.”
Diana underwent surgery and is expected to remain in the hospital for up to three weeks, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family. The fundraiser was started to cover funeral costs for the victims and Diana’s medical bills.
A family member declined PEOPLE’s request for comment.