A change of plea? Hearing for ‘mom’ accused of 10-year-old daughter’s brutal sexual assault, murder, and mutilation is cancelled

The woman accused of participating in her own daughter’s brutal rape, murder, and mutilation will not appear in court for a previously scheduled hearing — and it’s unclear why.

KOAT reports that a plea hearing for Michelle Martens scheduled for June 15 was cancelled and has not been rescheduled.

Martens is accused of watching two additional suspects her 10-year-old daughter Victoria Martens before the suspects killed her, allegedly throwing the little girl’s partially dismembered body in the bathtub of Martens’ Albuquerque apartment and setting the body on fire.

Michelle Martens, her boyfriend Fabian Gonzalez, and Gonzalez’s cousin Jessica Kelly have all been charged with first-degree murder. All three suspects have previously pleaded not guilty, and Martens was set to go on trial first.

But a legal expert says that the cancelled plea hearing may indicate that one or more of the suspects, who are all confirmed to have been in the apartment the night Victoria died, has decided to cooperate with authorities; possibly acting as a witness.

“It could mean that the state and the defense might be working on some kind of resolution; something might be happening there,” KOAT legal expert John Day said in an interview with the news outlet.

“Someone who decided to cooperate with the government. Sometimes you have someone who flips, so they say. We don’t know that that’s happening here, but it’s not uncommon, it’s not unusual,” said Day, who has previously appeared on Crime Stories with Nancy Grace.

Day said also said that there could be any number of explanations for the cancelled hearing.

“It could also mean there’s some issues with expert witnesses, timing of the trial, getting people either side wants to bring in as special experts,” he said. “So, it’s hard to tell right now without more information about exactly why things are being pushed off.”

But it appears that Day believes the scheduling change is significant.

“I think something’s probably cooking. I really do. It’s what it seems like.”