SIOUX CITY | A man charged in the shooting death of a Sioux City woman formally rejected a deal Friday that would have allowed him to avoid a potential lifetime prison sentence.
The move by Fernando Jaimes-Martinez came as no surprise in the wake of his Nov. 12 trial for the shooting death of Karla Gonzalez.
Jaimes-Martinez, 35, of Sioux City, is charged in Woodbury County District Court with first-degree murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, willful injury and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is accused of firing a gun into a crowd and killing Gonzalez, 27, during a large fight between neighbors on the 1600 block of Villa Avenue on Sept. 22, 2012.
Early in the case, First Assistant Woodbury County Attorney Mark Campbell had offered the plea agreement, in which Jaimes-Martinez could have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 50-year prison sentence rather than risk a sentence of life in prison without parole if found guilty of first-degree murder at trial.
A plea-taking and sentencing hearing was to have taken place in February. That hearing never occurred because Jaimes-Martinez' attorney at the time, J. William Gallup, of Omaha, withdrew from the case, citing irreconcilable differences. Jaimes-Martinez also told a judge that he could not work with Gallup.
Public defender Mike Williams was appointed to represent Jaimes-Martinez, and Williams had filed motions regularly, giving a clear indication he intended to go to trial.
Jaimes-Martinez confirmed Friday he was not interested in accepting the plea agreement.
"... I'm not going to accept 50 years," he told District Judge Jeffrey Poulson through an interpreter.
Campbell then withdrew the plea offer.