Georgia mother accused of killing family appears in court

Nine-year-old Diana Romero was also stabbed and flown by helicopter to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

At one point during her court appearance, she got down on her knees and bowed. The judge advised her sharply not to perform for the cameras.

Now, Keyes said, she's having to endure the hard task of explaining to her kids what happened.

Isabel Martinez is charged with five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault, hours after police said she called 911 to report the killings from the home the family shared outside Atlanta. When they arrived on scene, they found the man, identified as 33 year-old Martin Romero and four children deceased.

Police said Martinez had been cooperative with investigators, though they have not yet revealed a possible motive in the deadly attack.

"It's just for me, my hope - my attornies are always going to be the people and my faith", she said.

Federal immigration authorities said Martinez, whom they identified as Maria Isabel Garduno-Martinez, illegally entered the United States, though it is not clear when or where she crossed the USA border.

"My attorneys (are) the people that we're fighting for", she said in Spanish through an interpreter.

Source GoFundMe  GCPD
Source WGCL Source GoFundMe GCPD Isabel Cartuna Martinez

Police had said the Romero and Martinez family lived in a quiet neighborhood, but that changed after a 911 call from inside the mobile home at 4:47 a.m. Thursday. But because it was her first encounter with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), it was unknown how long she has been the country, according to Bryan Cox, a spokesman for the agency.

Before the hearing began, Martinez sat with other inmates and struck poses for cameras - smiling, giving the thumbs up, putting her hands in a prayer position and spreading her arms out wide.

But Martinez continued to shake her head. A fifth child also was stabbed but survived.

Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge Michael Thorpe advised her to stop performing for the cameras.

Thursday, that little girl remains in serious condition, but she is recovering.

Their slain father was Martin Romero, 33, Pihera said.

Neighbors and family members were left in shock following the gruesome discovery Thursday morning at Martinez's home outside Atlanta, wondering what could have driven a mother to murder her children.

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  • Delia Davidson