Current Updates: Please go to this website's "How to Write Letters of Support" offering easy steps to follow when
writing your letter. It is very important that you remain positive throughout the letter, not dwelling on injustice, but
simply focusing on how we will help him upon release.
The Parole Board will be more receptive to letters written from community members (from Laredo), because it is here that
he will make his reentry and it is us that will help him adapt and succeed.
Miguel Angel Martinez - A Brief History
Miguel Angel Martinez was born on August 6, 1973, in Laredo, Texas. He is a Mexican American raised in Laredo, a city
of about 180,000 predominantly Hispanic due to its border region.
Miguel Angel is the first born of a family of four. His family unit consisted of a single-parent home and was never privileged
to know his father. His immediate family consisted of his mother, Ruth, a younger brother, Daniel, and his youngest sister
Throughout his childhood years, the family evolved into a tightly knit family that struggled through the perils of a low
-income single parent home.
Miguel's family lived for awhile with Miguel's grandmother up until his eleventh birthday. Needless to stay, his grandmother
was a positive influence in his life. At this point in time, the family moved to federal housing, close ties were maintained
with their grandmother thus, family unity continued to be a priority.
As a child, Miguel Angel consistently showed average and above average performance in school. He attended Laredo public
schools and demonstrated good behavior continuously. School records reveal no implication in gang-related activities, truancy,
or any other form of misconduct. He showed emotional stability and since a very young age showed a strong sense of maturity,
especially when his mother found herself physically incapable to fully tend to the younger children. Miguel, as well as he
could, successfully helped to manage the household.
Miguel Angel was accepted and participated in the school district's gifted and talented program. Throughout his high school
years, he maintained a "B" average and was successful in various academic programs. (Ex.: University Interscholastic
League: ready writing) He was also very active with the Church of the Nazarene. Here he actively participated in Bible study
and Bible quizzing competitions in San Antonio, Dallas, and other cities. At the young age of seventeen, Miguel Angel was
gearing to graduate from high school.
Upon completing high school, Miguel Angel was to join the U.S. Air force. In fact, he had already enlisted in the Air
Force's "Delayed Enlisted Program". Unfortunately, his vision for his bright future suddenly turned dark.
On January 22, 1991, four months before graduation, at approximately 5:00 a.m., local police officers stormed into Miguel's
home and within a few hours he was arrested. His stable life was forever derailed. It is from this point on that the injustices
began. His trial was held in Laredo on April of 1992. There was no change of venue due to the ineffectiveness and lack of
interest on the part of his court appointed attorney. This capital murder jury trial was begun and completed within five days.
This was a ridiculously short period of time to decide upon the life and death of a seventeen year old who had never been
arrested nor violated any law either as a juvenile or an adult.
Throughout this nightmare, Miguel Angel quickly lost faith in our judicial system and the belief that one is innocent
until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On this very sad and disheartening day in April of 1992, Miguel Angel Martinez
was given the death sentence. Much of the community was in awe for this was too severe of a punishment. Miguel Angel stated,
"I was visibly shocked when I was found guilty and given the death sentence. It was like a bad dream-one I desperately
wanted to wake up from but couldn't."
The Following is an excerpt of Miguel Angel's personal thoughts of what was to be the beginning of his unforsaken nightmare.
"I was very frightened about the prospect of coming to death row. Other than television and movies, I had no knowledge
of prison life. If half of what the inmates in jail said were true in their zeal to prepare me for it, I knew it was going
to be a nightmare within a nightmare. When I arrived to death row, I was the youngest inmate here. I had little or nothing
in common with my peers. The average fellow inmate was five to ten years older than me. The environment was like nothing I
could have envisioned in my wildest imagination. While I have been helped by some of the other men, my greatest accomplishment
is to be blessed; fortunate to have the love and support of my family. From the inception, they have been at my side. You
quickly find out upon arriving to death row that is not always the case. Without the emotional support of my family and friends,
I shudder to think of a day in this man-made-hell.
Because of them, I am able to stay psychologically strong and optimistically inclined. I think with awareness of my plight
can come greater strength. My fight s not just for life; it is an every day struggle for survival. I am fueled by a dream
to be one day reunited with my family. To date, I bide my time reading occasionally and writing. In addition, recently I have
sought to take advantage of an In-cell College Correspondence Course afforded me as an indigent inmate. I hope to achieve
higher educational goals my arrest denied me."
As of 1995, through a correspondence course, he acquired a diploma and certification as paralegal. More recently, he was
commuted from death row to life in prison.
Currently, Miguel Angel is preparing for parole. As of 2005, he has served fifteen years in prison. Remarkably, he has
survived and thrived. He has much support from family and friends and is currently working on a college degree.
The most recent photo of Miguel Angel Martinez was taken by the French Media.