Death penalty off table in Weslaco infant murder

The state announced Thursday it would not seek the death penalty against a Weslaco man accused of causing the death of his own baby boy.

During a pretrial hearing Thursday morning, the state, represented by the chief of Hidalgo County Special Victims Division, Hope Palacios, announced it would not seek the death penalty against 25-year-old Diego Rangel Martinez.

Martinez was arrested Feb. 22 after Weslaco police were notified of the child’s death by officials from a San Antonio hospital.

According to a news release from Weslaco police, officers responded to Knapp Medical Center Feb. 20 in reference to an unresponsive 3-month-old child.

At the time, police said the family got a ride from a neighbor to the hospital, and that the child’s mother was with the child at the hospital but did not know whether Martinez was present.

The officer did not describe the type of injuries the boy sustained.

The child’s injuries “were sufficient enough to have him airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio,” officials said at the time.

But after a “thorough investigation,” Weslaco police said they had enough reason and evidence to believe that Martinez was “responsible for the child’s injuries.”

He was subsequently indicted in May on one count of capital murder of a person under 10 years old, murder, and injury to a child, in connection with the death of his son Aaron Martinez, court records show.

“…(Martinez)… did then and there intentionally or knowingly cause the death of …Aaron Martinez… by striking him with an object unknown to the grand jurors..,” the record stated.

Martinez, who faces up to life in prison if convicted, is due back for a pretrial hearing Dec. 9.