Carmello “Pee Wee” Martinez walked into Charlottesville Circuit Court in the customary striped prison garb. Martinez, an avowed member of the “Bloods”—of Crips and Bloods gang war renown—was arrested this summer in connection with a shooting. On February 13, he was sentenced to four years in prison for the events that occurred last March when he brandished an AK-47 assault weapon outside the Blue Ridge Commons apartment complex.
On that day in March, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth Killeen, a crowd had gathered and watched as the 19-year-old waved the gun and demanded, “Who wants some of this?” Apparently, no one did. Martinez returned to the Jeep he had arrived in.
Carmello “Pee Wee” Martinez apologized to the shooting victim’s mother in court.
Moments later, an associate named Javier Garcia emerged from the same vehicle with the AK-47. This time, he fired into the crowd and struck a 16-year-old in the back as he was running away. Despite the severity of his injury, the victim recovered. He was in the front row of the courtroom with members of his family as Judge Edward Hogshire and the attorneys worked over Martinez’ plea deal.
The shooting was the end result of a verbal altercation that began earlier in the day at a local rec center, according to Killeen. She described it as a “king of the hill” contest that was largely ego driven, a “beef” that almost killed someone because of Martinez’s actions. Even though he wasn’t the shooter, Killeen recommended that Martinez serve a minimum sentence of four years, with three years of heavily restricted probation. Under the sentencing guidelines, Martinez could have received 20 years.
The victim’s mother groaned as Killeen spoke, tears making a film over her eyes. She stared at Martinez, who stretched his arms as best he could with handcuffs restricting his reach. Throughout, his gaze remained mostly downward unless he was looking at his infant son, who whimpered from the front bench.
“There was extremely poor judgment on this young man’s part,” said Kelly Hobbs, Martinez’s attorney. Next, Martinez stood and looked over at the shooting victim and his mother. “I apologize for what happened,” he said. “I’m sorry he and his family had to go through that.”
“Thank you,” the victim’s mother replied. “I want to say, ‘Thank you.’”
After the March shooting, Martinez and Garcia fled to New York but were arrested in June and extradited from the Bronx. Garcia faces a March 5 sentencing and Killeen told the court that she will seek a sentence of up to 15 years. Martinez’s younger brother, Indio, was also involved and a judge threw out a proposed plea deal last week. He goes to trial on March 27.
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