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Decatur woman pleads not guilty in murder case

by Tracy Neal | August 24, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
Karla Martinez

BENTONVILLE -- A Decatur woman faces a murder charge in connection with the shooting death of a woman in Siloam Springs.

Karla Martinez, 18, was arrested in June in connection with tampering with physical evidence and hindering apprehension or prosecution. She was arrested in connection with a June 25 incident in which two people were shot, including one who died.

Prosecutors formally charged her with criminal accomplice to murder in the first degree, unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, terroristic act and battery. She's also charged with the tampering and apprehension offenses.

Martinez pleaded not guilty Monday to the charges at her arraignment before Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green.

Francisco Ochoa, 17, of Gentry is charged as an adult with murder in the first degree, unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, terroristic act, battery and two counts of aggravated assault. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He's accused of shooting and killing Kathrine Pembleton. She was pronounced dead at Siloam Springs Regional Hospital. The other victim, a 17-year-old girl, was taken to Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, treated and released, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A woman called 911 just before midnight June 25 saying her daughter's friends had been shot at 817B Whiterock St., according to a probable cause affidavit. The woman's 17-year-old daughter told police a woman she identified as Martinez had been arguing with a friend of hers over some clothing.

A witness -- another 17-year-old girl -- told police she, Pembleton and the other shooting victim were sitting on the tailgate of a pickup outside the Whiterock Street home. That's when a car drove by without its lights on, then turned around. While passing the home again, someone in the car fired four to six shots, according to the affidavit.

Police searched Ochoa's car and found numerous shell casings that appeared to be of the same brand as a shell casing found at the scene of the shooting, according to the affidavit. Martinez told police she and Ochoa went to the Whiterock Street house together the night of June 25 and were there for some time. She said as soon as they went to leave, Ochoa pulled out a gun, according to the affidavit.

Martinez told police she hid the gun Ochoa used so he wouldn't get in trouble but added she felt "horrible" after it happened, according to the affidavit. She told police she'd hidden the gun in her attic, and police later found a pistol in the place she described, according to the affidavit.

Ochoa and Martinez are scheduled to appear in court again at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 7.

Martinez is being held on $200,000 bond in the Benton County Jail. Ochoa is being held on $750,000 bond in the Benton County Juvenile Detention Center.

Print Headline: Decatur woman pleads not guilty in murder case

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