For release on February 8, 2013
CONTACT: David Boyd, Deputy District Attorney Homicide Unit (408) 792-2968
A San Jose gang member was sentenced today to 30-years-to-life plus five years in prison after his high-speed flight from police ended in a car crash that left his girlfriend dead.
The Hon. Sharon Chatman gave the sentence following the conviction of Renan Martinez, 30, late last year for the second-degree murder of 24-year-old Mayra Barajas. The case, the prosecutor said, demonstrates the grave consequences of flight from law enforcement in order to avoid arrest.
“Sadly, had Mr. Martinez simply looked into his rear view mirror, he would have realized the police were not pursuing him because his driving was too dangerous,’” Deputy District Attorney David Boyd said.
“Renan Martinez had been reminded, over and over since age 16, that dangerous driving could kill,” Boyd wrote in a case memorandum. “(He) placed his own preferences and desire to live his life the way he wanted above human life, whether it be the unsuspecting public or his girlfriend.’’
The gang member was a high-risk parolee and a fugitive when he was pulled over by San Jose police officers for a minor traffic violation on June 9, 2010. Martinez fled as officers approached, this time steering his car over a median and making a U-turn to get away. Martinez was speeding at around 60 mph when he passed a long line of cars waiting at a red light, and barreled through an intersection.
His car was struck by a car traveling legally through the intersection, and crashed into a light pole. Barajas, Martinez’s passenger and girlfriend, never regained consciousness before she died.
Martinez had committed numerous dangerous driving offenses going back to when he was 16 years old which included, speeding, hit and run, reckless driving, and failure to stop at a red light. He had been previously sent to prison for driving his car into two people on a bicycle that he suspected were rival gang members.

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