By Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press
Originally Published: August 18, 2020 11:02 a.m.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The parents and grandmother of a 6-year-old Flagstaff, Arizona, boy who died after being locked in a closet and denied food have again pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the case.
Elizabeth Archibeque and Anthony Martinez, the boy’s parents, and Ann Martinez, his grandmother, entered their pleas Monday in Coconino County Superior Court. A new indictment issued earlier this month expands the description of the crimes they’ve been charged with — first-degree murder and two counts each of kidnapping and child abuse.
Anthony Martinez also is charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
It’s unclear what led to the new indictment. County Attorney William Ring didn’t immediately respond to a request for clarification.
A medical examiner determined Deshaun Martinez died of starvation, weighing just 18 pounds (8.1 kilograms) at the time of his death.
His parents initially attributed their son’s malnourished state to a medical condition and to ingesting diet or caffeine pills. Eventually, they told police they kept Deshaun and his older brother in a closet for 16 hours a day and gave them little to eat.
Police said the boys’ confinement was punishment for stealing food while the parents slept.
Attorneys for Ann Martinez recently sought to have the case sent back to the grand jury to correct what they said was a procedural error in the hope of getting the charges reconsidered. They argued that a prosecutor didn’t provide clear instruction on child abuse statutes.
Greg Parzych, one of Martinez’s attorneys, said he hasn’t reviewed the latest grand jury transcript to determine whether his concern was addressed. If not, he said he’ll refile the request under the new case.