A Fredericksburg man faces a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted Wednesday of fatally stabbing his sister and seriously wounding his pregnant girlfriend in a 2018 attack in the home they shared.
A trial had been set for January, but Daniel Alfredo Martinez–Nolasco accepted a plea agreement in the case. He entered an Alford plea to first-degree murder and attempted murder. An Alford plea means the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that enough evidence exists for a conviction.
A malicious wounding charge was nolle prossed, meaning it was dropped but could be reintroduced.
The plea came only after Circuit Judge Gordon Willis sent the Spanish-speaking Martinez–Nolasco back to his holding cell with his attorneys and interpreter after he appeared to either have second thoughts or didn’t understand the proceedings. Martinez–Nolasco eventually returned to the courtroom and entered the agreed-to plea.
Martinez–Nolasco faced a potential life sentence on the murder charge alone. According to the agreement, he can be sentenced to a maximum of 50 years in prison on both charges.
The case was delayed after Nolasco underwent a psychiatric exam to determine if he was competent to stand trial. He was deemed competent and a trial date was set for January.
The defendant lived in a home on Ivanhoe Court with his sister and her two children, his girlfriend and his two brothers. All of them were home Dec. 10, 2018, when the attacks happened.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Humphries said the defendant had become “increasingly jealous” of his girlfriend in the lead-up to the stabbings. She said he later told detectives his family was turning against him and that he was angry that his girlfriend would dress up and go out without him.
Humphries added that Martinez–Nolasco told detectives that he was attacked first, but there was no evidence to support the claim.
Through an interpreter, Martinez–Nolasco told the judge he didn’t recall what happened the night of the attacks and that “my mind was not working properly.”
The prosecutor said the defendant’s sister, 25-year-old Maria D. Martinez–Nolasco, had been telling her brother he needed to start earning money and stop bothering his girlfriend over his jealousy. The two had been arguing just before the attack.
The defendant took a shower but then returned to the kitchen, the prosecutor said. As his sister looked at a phone, he grabbed a knife and stabbed her in the back.
Maria Martinez–Nolasco also suffered stab wounds to her head, face and chest. Her aorta was slashed in the attack.
The defendant’s girlfriend at the time, Maria E. Machado Ventura, was in the living room and heard screaming coming from the kitchen. She was then attacked.
The prosecutor said by the time the defendant attacked his girlfriend, the knife blade was bent. But Ventura still suffered wounds to her chest, back, neck and hands and has undergone surgeries. She has since delivered Martinez–Nolasco’s baby.
After the stabbings, Martinez–Nolasco’s brothers tried to subdue him, but he managed to flee from the house. Police later found him nearby. They also found the knife, buried in the snow.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 4.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436