Andrez Martina is behind bars for murdering his 12-year-old grandson, Andre Smith, inside his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In May 2021, Martina, then 53, moved back to Milwaukee from Indiana and wanted to reconnect with his grandchildren, Andre and his 8-year-old brother.
On Aug. 28, 2021, they spent the night at his house near 46th and Glendale, and he had planned to take them shopping for school supplies.
The following morning, at around 3 a.m., Martina said he “noticed that his wallet was open and money was missing.” He automatically assumed it was Andre because of his alleged problem with stealing.
When he confronted Andre in the living room area, he said he “smacked him repeatedly” because he didn’t know what else to do to get his grandson to give him his money back.
According to the complaint, Andre “ran to the bathroom and locked himself inside in an attempt to protect himself” from his grandfather. After Martina “picked the lock open,” he “lost it” on Andre.
The commotion awakened Martina’s disabled mother, who watched on as he attacked Andre and his brother.
Investigators stated that the attack lasted more than five hours and that Martina used multiple objects to beat Andre, including a mallet, a coat rack, and a cane.
Martina later sent a text message to Andre’s grandmother and told her that he had stolen from him. When she asked about his whereabouts, his only reply was that he was bleeding, according to TMJ4.
That’s when she informed Andre’s mother to go to Martina’s house to find out what was going on.
When she and her boyfriend arrived, they found Andre unconscious. Her other son was suffering from a head laceration, a fractured finger, and bruising.
They transported the boys to an area hospital, where Andre was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later.
According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, Andre died from a severe skull fracture.
During a search of Martina’s home, they found marijuana, methamphetamine pills, and a firearm.
Martina was arrested and booked into the county jail, where he was held on a $750,000 cash bond.
He was charged with five felony counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, child abuse, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
During an interview with detectives, Martina mentioned that he had served time in prison for murdering a boy in 1989. He also stated that he was well aware of what he was doing when he beat his grandson.
He added that he recalled telling his grandchildren, “If you lie, if you mess up in school, if you steal, I’m going to kill you.”
During Martina’s first court appearance, his daughter, who is Andre’s mother, spoke. She told the court commissioner that “my dad hurt me my whole life. I loved him because he was my dad. I was going to give you a chance, man.”
She then turned to her father, Martina, and said, “I warned you; I begged you to stay away from my kids. I will never ever forgive you or [her mom] for what you did to my baby.”
“Andre didn’t deserve what you did to him… I hope wherever you go, they do to you what you did to my baby. I hate you.”
Martina later tried to use self-defense.
He testified that Andre pulled a gun on him. When he “grabbed the gun from him,” he said “he swung into the wall, hit his head on the wall, and that’s the only thing I remember.”
Prosecutors stated that Andre’s “injuries were too extensive for Martina to claim self-defense.”
In September 2021, Martina pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Martina later apologized in court. He said, “I’m profoundly sorry that I wasn’t able to control my panic and anxiety.”
In May 2022, Martina was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and attacking Andre’s younger brother.
Milwaukee County Judge Stephanie Rothstein said, “This is the most, one of the most, I wish I could say the most, one of the most aggravated homicides that I’ve dealt with, and I’ve been in this area of practice for almost 38 years.”
The following month, Martina was sentenced to two life sentences with an additional 23 years in prison.
His defense team said he is planning to appeal his conviction.