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SOC employee arrested on murder charge

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Crime: Kaiwee Martinez allegedly shot Taos man

By John Severance

Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas R. Rodella Friday announced the arrest of Kaiwee Martinez, 35, who is charged with an open count of murder in the November 3, 2012, shooting death of Lawrence Sandoval, 33, of Taos at the woman’s Alcalde home.

Securing our Country (SOC), the lab security force that employed Martinez, released the following statement.

“Kaiwee Martinez is employed by SOC Los Alamos (a subcontractor to LANS, LLC) as an Unarmed Security Officer,” SOC spokesperson Liddie Martinez said. “She has been on leave without pay since the day of the incident in November 2012.  She has not had access to Los Alamos National Laboratory since that time.”

“We conducted a comprehensive, detailed investigation into Mr. Sandoval’s homicide over the course of the next 10 weeks,” Rodella said. “Early on in our investigation it was determined that the defendant’s account of events preceding the shooting was not credible.”

The defendant had told RASO investigators that she shot Sandoval in self defense.  

“Items of evidence, some of which were obtained pursuant to search warrants issued in November, underwent forensic analysis.  We received the results of that analysis earlier this week and obtained a warrant for the defendant’s arrest,” Rodella said.

The sheriff said RASO deputies arrested the defendant without incident Thursday and booked her into the Rio Arriba County Detention Center in Tierra Amarilla.

The arrest warrant, issued by First Judicial District Judge Sheri A. Raphaelson, sets Martinez’ bond at $100,000 cash-only.

According to an Associated Press story last month, investigators appeared to doubt the self-defense claim of Martinez.

Martinez claimed a man barged into her home Nov. 3 and tried to undress her at knifepoint.
 She says she reached under a pillow, grabbed a loaded gun and shot Sandoval and then fled from her home and called 911.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that police statements filed in the case indicate the woman gave differing versions of the events that led to the shooting. 
But the woman’s lawyer says his client “has nothing to hide” and “this is a self-defense situation.”