Ruben Martinez was released from detention on Tuesday after 12 years. Now he and his wife can finally start their life together

Ruben and Maria Martinez are having a honeymoon this week- 12 years after their bridal day.

Ruben was arrested in 2007, simply five months after they tied the bow, accused of a string of forearmed burglaries in Los Angeles he did not dedicate. He was sentenced to 47 times in prison in 2008, and for more than a decade Ruben and his wife fought to prove his innocence, with petitions that frequently failed.

On Tuesday, nonetheless, the couple’s prayers were answered. The LA district attorney’s office agreed that Ruben was wrongfully convicted, a magistrate formally saw him innocent, and for the first time in more than 4,500 daytimes, Ruben strolled free.

” This is a see miracle ,” Ruben , now 49, told the Guardian on Thursday, as he sat inside the food pantry in El Monte, just outside of LA, where Maria labours.” All of this time crying in my cell, it’s like I was in a twilight passage … and finally God has brought the illuminate to the darkness .”

Ruben and Maria, 59, were giggly and joyful as they discussed his freedom, saying they felt like newlyweds spending their first week together. While acquittals are extremely rare, the couple said they never vacillated in their notion that this day would come.

They had faith to keep them hopeful- as well as a ring-binder of evidence.

A marriage shattered by arrest:’ They just stereotyped him ‘

The two grew up in LA county and met in 2003 at the Victory Outreach church in East LA. They were friends for years and was married on 9 December 2006; Maria carries around a framed photo of them igniting a candle on their marry day.

At the time, Ruben was manufacturing culminates converge as a day laborer, and on the morning of 1 June 2007, he woke up at 4.30 was just looking for a gig, leaving the house with merely$ 5 in his pocketbook. He ended a occupation inciting some furniture and was stepping down the street to a liquor store near his home in Boyle Heights when Los Angelespolicedepartment policemen approached- and arrested him.

” I thought something bad should ever happen to their own families ,” he said.” I was sitting in the back of that polouse vehicle contemplating, what could it be ?”

The policemen took him to a terminal for interrogate, and a detective asked him if he knew why he was arrested. When he said no, the detective asked him to try on a painter’s mask, which Ruben refused to do. Police then asked him if he had tattoos, and when he said he did not, they did him take his shirt off to prove it, he said.

“‘ Who do you has been dragging on with ?'” police continued, according to Ruben. He said it became clear that patrolmen were trying to establish some sort of gang affiliation based on his neighborhood.

” They only stereotyped him as a Boyle Heights, East LA Mexican gangbanger ,” said Maria.

Eventually police told him he was being charged with” second-degree crime while personally armed with a firearm “.

He told the officers he knew nothing about any thefts, and the questions of soon ended.

Maria came home to find police had put up yellow tape and turned her home into a crime scene, implementing a search warrant for robbery.

” The mansion was in shamblings ,” she said.

Ruben Martinez

Ruben, who was jailed while awaiting trial, later learned he was being charged with nine felony countings arising as a result of five thefts between December 2005 and May 2007 at the same Boyle Heights vehicle person browse- a business he had never patronized. He parallelled some parts of the victim’s described in the believe, though the believe “ve been a little” taller and had been wearing a mask for most of the robberies.

The simplest way forward for Ruben was to plead guilty. Prosecutors offered him a plea transaction that would give him a two-year sentence, and his advocate counselled him to sign.

Ruben never even was of the view that it:” Everybody was telling me to take it … but it wouldn’t be right on my behalf, saying I was a thief. That would be a lie. I don’t believe in lying. If a man’s going to stand, give him stand for the truth .”

Maria knew possible risks of spurned a deal, but said she ever corroborated her husband’s decision:” He didn’t do it .”

Prosecution with’ no indicate ‘

After learning the specific robbery dates in court, Maria went through all of Ruben’s salary stubs and experienced paperwork explain he was working during two of the alleged facts- on a position at CBS Studios and another at a metal processing facility. The temporary bureaux that utilized Ruben committed Maria time expanses and a schedule of beings he carpooled with on those days. She contributed those to his lawyer, but the lawyer did not use the documents during the trial and did not call his alibis from the carpool as witnesses.

Ruben’s supervisors did certify on his behalf, but prosecutors attacked their credibility, alleging that one was biased and the other had made a typo on one time sheet.

The only physical prove from the five crime vistums was a single palm publish. It did not match Ruben’s. Police knew one believe had committed all the crimes and had no evidence from Ruben’s home to connect him to any of the offenses.

A first tribulation in November 2007 was concluded in a mistrial with a deadlocked jury. Prosecutors moved forward with a second trial, which ended in guilty verdicts on all counts. On 20 May 2008, Ruben was sentenced to 47 years and eight months in nation prison.

Ruben’s captivity destroyed his whole family.

Maria broke down as she narrated the milestones missed:” I got robbed of a lot of stuff. Sharing our first anniversary behind forbids, it was so sad .”

When Ruben’s nephew was killed the day of his sentence, Maria obscured the information, annoyed he wouldn’t be able to cope. When Ruben’s mother passed away in July 2010, he wasn’t able to go to the funeral. During the holidays each year, their own families would reputation him by elapsing around a hat and obtaining donations that could go to his prison maintenance packages.

After Ruben ended up in a state prison 200 miles away from LA, most of his family couldn’t render to inspect any more.

Ruben said the hardest part was the physical separation from Maria:” We lost our time alone, that intimacy where she’s looking into my eyes. We couldn’t share our sorenes over the phone .”

‘ There’s two parties in the chamber- me and Jesus. And both of us know I didn’t do it .’ Photograph: Dan Tuffs/ The Guardian

He endured by praying in his cadre, he said: “‘ Jesus, you know I didn’t do this .’ There’s two parties in the chamber- me and Jesus. And both of us know I didn’t do it .”

Maria refused to give up on the case. A former secretary for the sheriff’s district, she maintained detailed records of all his registers proving his alibis. One of Ruben’s sisters took an early withdrawal from her retirement to pay for an attorney, and his family filed petitions and entreaties. The tribunals denied each one.

In 2015, Maria learned she had one final option. The district attorney( DA ), Jackie Lacey, had established a new conviction review division. Without the aid of an attorney, Maria put together a claim for Lacey’s office. Maria likewise had the support of a close friend and retired homicide detective, Catherine Wills, who had become a mother figure to her and twice instantly appealed to the prosecutor.

And for the first time in a decade, information systems took Maria’s binder of indication seriously. DA sleuths interviewed watches and alibis and concluded it was not feasible that Ruben dedicated any of the robberies.

‘ They never gave up hope ‘

Ruben’s acquittal is an anomaly in LA county. Since the creation of Lacey’s review unit, he is only the third person to have a conviction switched- and the first to successfully bring a claim without an lawyer. The unit has received more than 1,900 contends during that time.

” A fortune of beings come up to me and say there’s somebody in prison who’s innocent ,” Lacey told the Guardian this week.” The moral of the narration is you’ve got to listen … Ruben is an inspirational anatomy, larger than life , no bitterness … They never gave up hope .”

Lacey said her office would use Ruben’s specimen in prepares, contributing:” There are desegregated spirits when you read a mistake in the system, because you have so much faith in the system .”

Ruben will be entitled to $ 140 for every day of his incarceration, which could amount to more than $ 600,000. But Lacey acknowledged that could never make up for the endure of their own families:” I can’t even imagine, 11 times … It’s hard to even explain it or think about it .”

Maria said she did not have animosity towards the DA’s office:” They’re human, and it’s not their faulting. It was just the system .”

Ruben immediately celebrated his freedom with a doubled cheeseburger, fries and a strawberry shake. The next morning, his first day on the outside, he decided to volunteer at the food bank where his wife runs. He thought it would be a good way to show his gratitude.


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