BARSTOW -- It
was roughly 2:30 on Saturday afternoon when the Ward County Sheriff's
Office received a call in reference to a shooting at 508 Brant
Avenue. There they found the aftermath of a murder-suicide. Deputies
say Joel Martinez killed his wife Maribel right in front of her
mothers home. He then turned the gun on himself and ended his own
Tony Benavidez dates the cousin of Maribel Martinez, and both women lived within a block of each other. Benavidez says he was driving to pick up his girlfriend when the murder-suicide took place, and she was there at the house when it happened.
"One minute she saw them talking and she went to go turn the radio off, turn it down, and when she came back they were both dead. So she's like...you can imagine how she was," Benavidez said.
He said his girlfriend is still in a state of shock, having seen her cousin just moments before she died. So what sort of people were the Martinez's? Benavidez says Joel was an abusive husband.
"She used to come over here a lot of times just black and blue where he beat her up," Benavidez said.
As a result, the married couple had been separated for several weeks prior to the incident. Benavidez said it appears as if Joel tried one last time to get his wife back.
"To me, he had already been planning this. What if she doesn't want to come back? What am I going to do? I'm going to continue living without her...or you know," Benavidez said.
Both bodies have been sent to Lubbock for autopsies, and there will be a joint investigation involving the Texas Rangers and the Ward County Sheriff's Office.