Guilty verdict in 12 minutes: Jury convicts Martin Arroyo of assault, stalking

Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily
A jury took only 12-14 minutes to convict Martin Arroyo of assault, harassment and stalking.
Randy Wyrick| |

EAGLE — Martin Arroyo lived in a storage unit when he left hundreds of profane and threatening voicemails and texts on a Roaring Fork Valley woman’s phone.

A jury took between 12 and 14 minutes to send him to another type of storage unit, state prison, guilty of all five charges — one felony and four misdemeanors.

The trial was supposed to last three days. Deputy District Attorney Kathleen Noone wrapped it up in two.

Arroyo is scheduled to be sentenced April 16. In the meantime, he’ll remain in the Eagle County jail.

B-52 of F-Bombs

Arroyo averaged five F-bombs, and at least two instances of “you whore” in each message played in the courtroom. Things like:

“I’m going to f— you over, you piece of s— whore. You got that? … I want you to suffer like I have.

“P.S. I love you.”

Arroyo made many of those calls from the Basalt storage unit where he was living, police said. In the recordings, his voice became garbled after the metal overhead door was lowered.

The victim said she had accidentally blocked his calls for a short period of time. When she discovered that and unblocked them, she listened to them all in one sitting — Christmas Day 2016.

Over the next couple of months, he continued to call and text, calling her things like “a peace of shot” (sic) in text messages. He claimed in his text messages that his alcohol consumption was out of control and that he was trying to stop drinking.

Elliptical assault

The two had dated for about six months when he became abusive and she broke it off, the victim said.

The abuse became physical for the final time Jan. 6, 2017. She arrived at the Basalt gym where they met for her normal 5:30 a.m. workout, starting on an elliptical machine. Arroyo walked up to her angrily as she was working out and watching a television show. He yanked off her headphones and shouted at her, calling her “f—ing whore” and “f—ing b—-.”

He walked to another workout station, but soon stormed back over and grabbed her by the hair on the back of her head, pulling out some of her hair, according to police reports.

She left, and asked one of the gym staff to be watchful because she was afraid he would follow her out of the building as she was leaving for work.

He did, following her angrily and blocking her from getting back into the gym.

Enough is finally enough

On Feb. 19, 2017, Arroyo told her in a text that he was going to church that morning.

After missing several calls while she was in church, she decided to tell him she held no animosity toward him. They met for a few minutes, and she prayed with him. He had been drinking, she testified.

The next day when she was at work helping people suffering from terminal diseases, he called her 62 times between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. She missed them all.

She had finally had enough and went to the Basalt police, saying she feared for her safety.

While she was in the police station, Arroyo called. She put the call on speaker, at Officer Ernie Mack’s request, so he could hear Arroyo’s threats.

Mack said Arroyo would have to be arrested. In a recording played in the courtroom, Mack broke into Arroyo’s rant to address him directly.

“Martin, this is Officer Ernie Mack, with the Basalt police. I need you to come talk to us. … How soon can I expect you?

“Soon,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo did not show at the Police Department. He called her five times while she was with police. She answered three, Mack said. He remained consistently angry and threatening.

“I think he wanted to hurt her,” Mack testified. “We believe she was in danger.”

As Mack listened to the call, Arroyo called the victim a “b—-” and a “whore” and said he was going to hit her so hard that her dog would feel it, Mack testified.

Arroyo called back to say he was “on the run.”

He didn’t run far. He went to a bar instead.

Mack spotted Arroyo walking out the front door of the bar, toward the police officers waiting a few feet away. Arroyo was talking on the phone.

“You got me,” Arroyo told the officers. “Just putting the f—ing cuffs on me.”

So they did.

Working as his own attorney

Arroyo fired four different court-appointed attorneys. When he finally got his two days in court, he was his own attorney.

After more than five hours of testimony over two days, and before he cross-examined the victim, Arroyo asked for yet another recess.

Before the jury returned, Arroyo walked to the podium to begin his cross-examination.

“Are we waiting for anyone?” he asked the judge.

“The jury,” the judge replied.

When the jury was seated and he received the go-ahead from the judge, Arroyo said, “This will be quick.”

He was correct. His entire cross-examination lasted 58 seconds. He asked a series of questions about whether he ever showed up “uninvited” at the victim’s work or home or any of her friends’ homes.

“Not to my knowledge,” she answered to each question.

Arroyo had said he wanted to testify, to tell his side of the story. When he learned he’d have to testify on his own without Noone questioning him, he changed his mind. He stood from the witness chair and walked back to the defendant’s table, sitting alone.

After Noone and Arroyo concluded, Judge Kenneth Plotz asked if, as is traditional, the defense wanted to ask that the case be dismissed. Arroyo, who was still acting as his own lawyer, said he did not want the case or any of the charges to be dismissed.

He did not make a closing statement.


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