Arizona mother faces sentencing for starving her 6-year-old son to death

An Arizona mother is set to be sentenced on Thursday for the murder and child abuse of her 6-year-old son. Elizabeth Archibeque, along with the boy’s father and grandmother, faced charges in the tragic case. The child, Deshaun Martinez, was found dead in their Flagstaff apartment in March 2020, after being kept in a closet and denied food. Archibeque’s sentencing could result in a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.

Elizabeth Archibeque, an Arizona mother, is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday for the murder and child abuse of her 6-year-old son, Deshaun Martinez. The tragic incident occurred in their Flagstaff apartment in March 2020. Archibeque’s co-defendants, the boy’s father, Anthony Martinez, and grandmother, Ann Martinez, have pleaded not guilty and are being tried separately on similar charges. The Coconino County Superior Court Judge Ted Reed will preside over Archibeque’s sentencing.

Deshaun Martinez’s cause of death was determined to be severe starvation, as he weighed only 18 pounds (8.1 kilograms) at the time of his passing. Authorities discovered the lifeless child after a 911 call from Ann Martinez, who suspected her grandson was dead. The autopsy confirmed the death as a homicide. Archibeque and Anthony Martinez initially attributed their son’s malnourished state to a medical condition and the ingestion of diet or caffeine pills. However, they later confessed to confining Deshaun and his older brother in a closet for 16 hours a day and providing them with minimal food. The older brother survived the ordeal, while the two sisters were found in good health.

Earlier this year, Archibeque reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to the charges. As part of the agreement, she waived her eligibility for probation. If sentenced to life in prison, she will not be eligible for parole or for work release. Prosecutors have decided that they will not pursue the death penalty in this case. Meanwhile, Ann Martinez’s lawyers are scheduled to appear at a case management conference in September 2023, with her trial set to begin in January 2024. Anthony Martinez’s trial date, originally scheduled for this year, has been vacated and not yet rescheduled.