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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Santa Rosa Man Sentenced to Prison for 35 Years for Violent Crimes Committed over Two-Year Period

Santa Rosa, CA  –  December 10, 2019  –  Defendant Bernabe Ramirez Martinez, 28 years old of Santa Rosa, was sentenced Monday by the Honorable Peter Ottenweller to serve 35 years and 4 months in state prison for his actions in three separate felonies committed over a two year period. Martinez was convicted of reckless driving while intoxicated, felony child endangerment, and attempting to remove a police officer’s firearm in connection with his arrest in June of 2017. Martinez was then convicted of attempted murder for a February 2018 attack he instigated on another inmate while in custody at the Sonoma County Jail. Finally, Martinez was convicted of felony arson of an inhabited structure when he started a fire that engulfed the common area of his jail housing unit in November of 2018. In all three cases Martinez’s sentence was increased based on his previous “strike” offense. 

Martinez was first arrested on June 2, 2017, when he crashed the car he was driving on Brookwood Avenue in Santa Rosa. Martinez, driving under the influence of methamphetamine, was with his girlfriend and six-month old daughter in the car when he accelerated over a center median and collided with a light pole. Fortunately, the passengers did not suffer any injuries. When SRPD officers arrived at the scene, numerous bystanders identified Martinez as the driver of the car. When they attempted to contact him, he physically resisted the officers and twice reached for an officer’s holstered firearm. Martinez was convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving while intoxicated, felony child endangerment, and felony attempting to remove a police officer’s firearm. 

Martinez was in custody at the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility awaiting sentencing when he viciously attacked another inmate with a weapon that he fashioned out of a hairbrush. Martinez stabbed the inmate at least ten times in the neck and face in a sudden and unprovoked assault. For this offense Martinez was convicted of attempted murder with an allegation that he inflicted great bodily injury. 

In November of 2018, days before he was to be sentenced again, Martinez locked himself into the common area of the jail housing unit while the other inmates were in their respective cells. Using common items from his personal belongings and a power outlet, Martinez created a small fire. With the help of paper and clothing, he grew the fire and spread it around the common area. The fire caused significant damage inside the jail, and numerous correctional deputies and inmates were transported to a hospital for treatment related to smoke inhalation. Martinez was convicted in this third case of felony arson of an inhabited structure. 

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Matthew Henning, and the Santa Rosa Police Department and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office headed the investigations.

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Joan Croft
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Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
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