Paul Martinez makes an earlier court appearance. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)

Paul Martinez makes an earlier court appearance. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)

Husband charged with murder in death of Everett educator

Prosecutors allege that the man shot the woman twice while their children were in the home.

EVERETT — Prosecutors allege that Holly Martinez’s husband shot her twice.

One of the bullets apparently was fired as she was on the ground, inside her closet, according to a ballistic analysis. The gun went off less than six inches from her chest.

The couple’s three children, all minors, were home at the time. The children heard crashing noises upstairs and knew something was wrong, according to court papers. They were texting one another about what to do.

They didn’t want to alert their father to their concerns as he came downstairs and they persuaded him to leave.

Then, one of them found the body.

Holly Martinez

Holly Martinez

Paul Martinez, 49, was charged Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court with aggravated domestic violence murder in the second degree. Holly Martinez, 45, was a former principal who worked as a literacy educator in the Everett School District.

On June 18, the day of the killing, they were separated and in the middle of a divorce.

They’d signed a settlement six days earlier, but it hadn’t been filed in court yet. Paul Martinez had been trying to renegotiate the terms, court papers say.

He wasn’t supposed to be at his wife’s home, east of Mill Creek, without her permission. She reluctantly allowed him upstairs after he said he needed to collect some belongings from the master bedroom.

He was arrested outside, minutes after he called 911 and twice hung up on the dispatcher. Apparent blood was found on his hand and pants and the gun, according to the charges.

Deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf is arguing aggravated circumstances. State law allows for an exceptional sentence if certain crimes “occurred within sight or sound” of children belonging to a victim or defendant.

The Martinez children told investigators the couple had often argued, but they were unaware of any physical violence in the past.

The end of a relationship is one of the most dangerous times for victims of domestic violence, a term that includes emotional and psychological abuse.

A state study of intimate partner killings has found the homicides “are not unpredictable, isolated tragedies.” They often are preceded by escalating behaviors involving jealousy and control — much of which happens behind closed doors.

Paul Martinez had bought a semiautomatic pistol against his wife’s wishes in August 2017, according to the charges. He moved out months later. After the killing, the weapon was found upstairs, in a backpack that also contained divorce papers. Two fired casings were in a bathroom garbage can.

Paul Martinez remained behind bars Friday, held on $1 million bail. Arraignment is set for Monday. If convicted as charged, he could face life in prison.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @rikkiking.

Help available

If you or someone you know needs help relating to domestic violence, contact Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County’s 24-hour confidential hotline at 425-252-2873.

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