Triple Murder

By: Erin Dehn
By: Erin Dehn

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Dec. 16 - A judge will decide if a man accused in a brutal triple murder will stand trial.

Those killings happened six years ago, but the man charged with the crimes was just recently brought back to Kansas.

Family and friends of both the victims and suspect were in court Thursday, to see if Martin Vasquez will go to trial for the murders.

The victims were newspaper reporter Robin Vasquez, her father Howard Franks and Kinsley City Councilman Tom Dinkel. Their bodies were found in Robin's home in December 1998.

In the spring of 1999, the Kansas Attorney General's office filed several charges against Martin Vasquez, including three counts of first degree murder. In October of this year, he was extradicted from Mexico.

Robin's friends testified Thursday she was unhappy in her marriage and was filing for divorce. Mickey Avery worked with Robin at the Kinsley Graphic Newspaper. Avery testified she overheard Robin Vaquez talking to her husband on the phone. Avery says she heard Robin say, "This isn't Mexico and you cannot shoot people."

Another friend, Debra Olsen had plans to go shopping with Robin the day the bodies were found. Olsen says later that day, Martin's sister Maria stopped by her house worried because she couldn't find Martin. Olsen says she asked Maria if he had a gun. Olsen says Martin didn't have a gun, but he had bullets.

Through an interpreter, Maria testified she didn't have a close relationship with Martin, but he was staying at her home. She testifed she was with him when he bought bullets for hunting.

No word on when the judge is expected to make a ruling in the case.

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