Pattern alleged in abuse of boy, 4

Jessie Martinez

Ashleigh Wallace

A Grand Junction couple knowingly engaged in a pattern of abuse against a 4-year-old boy, who is still clinging to life, prosecutors alleged in court filings Thursday.

Jessie Martinez, 30, was formally charged by the District Attorney’s Office with two counts of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, a class three felony, and one count of misdemeanor child abuse, in connection with injuries young Elijah Wallace suffered in early January.

Martinez, shackled in a green Mesa County jail jumpsuit, said nothing during Thursday’s brief court hearing before District Judge Valerie Robison.

The filing alleges Martinez, between Jan. 11 and Jan. 13, engaged in a pattern of conduct resulting in, among other things, “lack of proper medical care, cruel punishment, mistreatment or an accumulation of injuries” for Elijah.

The District Attorney’s Office declined to file habitual criminal charges against Martinez—a move that potentially enhances penalties in the case. District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, during bond arguments last week, noted that Martinez is eligible for such prosecution. A check of court records showed 18 prior arrests or citations in Colorado.

The alleged victim in the case is the son of Ashleigh Wallace, 28, Martinez’s girlfriend. She also was formally charged Thursday with one count of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, felony attempt to influence a public servant and misdemeanor false reporting.

Both Martinez and Wallace, who are being held on $100,000 bond, are expected back in court later this month.

Martinez cannot post his bond because of a parole hold.

Elijah Wallace had a broken right arm, severe head trauma and several bruises on his body when his mother brought him to St. Mary’s Hospital on 
Jan. 13, according to court records. 

Martinez and Wallace both acknowledged during interviews that they noticed changes in the boy’s condition two days earlier. The delay in seeking treatment “substantially impacted” Elijah’s condition, the records said.

The boy was still in critical condition Thursday afternoon.


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