Woman accused of murdering mother gets life in prison
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A trial ended with a twist for a woman accused of killing her mother with an axe. In a dramatic change of heart the defendant cut a deal that will send her to prison for life.
Friday the 13th of April 2007, her mother's body was found by police in her mother's Hollywood home. 76-year-old Carmen Santiago had been savagely attacked with an axe and four to five blows had almost completely severed her head.
Her daughter, Martha Walker, said she killed her in self defense. She said her enraged mother threatened to shoot her for selling her home.
The prosecution was prepared to show Walker then purchased a grinder, intending to grind up her mother's body.
The trial had barely gotten underway when Martha Walker shocked the entire courtroom including her own attorney. She changed her plea to no contest for second degree murder and then threw in a bonus for the State Attorney's office. She was also charged in a separate matter of trying to have her husband murdered while she was in jail over a life insurance policy. She said no contest to that as well.
Judge: "This is against the advice of your attorney. Do you wish to go against his advice?"
"I'm very surprised that it happened this way," said prosecutor Shari Tate. "I think that her husband and her son were scheduled as witnesses and I think she didn't want to put them through it."
"What happened that night was a horrible, horrible tragedy," said Defense Attorney Arthur Marchetta Jr. "Martha Walker felt that this was the only way that she could undo what has been done."
Martha Walker has been sentenced to life in a Florida state prison.
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