Mother awaits justice 6 years after son's murder

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The anguish of the mother of a murdered teenager wonders why it's taking so long for the case to go to trial. The accused killer is still awaiting trial after six long years.

The defendant has rights, but so do the victims' families. And in this case, that seems to be a tough balance.

"I'm angry. I'm sad. And I can't take it anymore, I love my son and I just want justice for him. That's all," said the victim's mother Monica Gonzales.

Gonzalez's 19 year old son, Angelo Zuniga was stabbed to death at a party near San Francisco State University. Police arrested Martin Martinez the next morning.

The murder happened October 28, 2008. It's been almost six years and the case has yet to go to trial.

Gonzalez's letters to politicians have not been returned. She can't make sense out of the answers she's heard in pre-trial hearings.

"The defense has other cases. There's not a courtroom. That, somebody's taking a vacation," said Gonzalez.

"We share her frustration. I personally don't like to see any case sit around for a long time," said District Attorney George Gascon.

Gascon says many things complicated the case. There has been a succession of prosecutors. And requests for delays by the defense lawyer who's had other murder trials.

"We have been ready to go to trial multiple times. The defense was not," said Gascon.

"Well, after you go for six years, you have to wonder what's going on," said retired San Francisco homicide detective Joe Toomey.

Toomey says murder cases do take a long time to go to trial but this is rare. And he says the long waits take a toll on cops as well.

"There's nothing to tell the family. You know, how many times can you tell the family it's been delayed," he said.

Martinez's attorney told ABC7 News by the phone, that: "All parties want this to be concluded and work earnestly toward that goal. But remember, Martinez has been in custody the whole time."

Gascon said, in the interim, his office obtained grand jury indictments against Martinez on charges related to the case including, solicitation for murder and trying to dissuade a witness.

A new trial date has been set for this October.
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