GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 48-year-old Amherst man was arraigned Thursday on multiple misdemeanors. Following the arraignment, the court filed notion to hold him without bail due to a pending homicide case, according to the Erie County District Attorney.
Daniel Martinez was arraigned on one count of driving while intoxicated and one count of obstruction of governmental obstruction in the second degree. He was also charged with three vehicle and traffic law violations for imprudent speed, failure to stop at a stop sign, and failure to yield to right of way at a stop sign.
On Jan. 11, Martinez allegedly, while driving under the influence of alcohol, drove at a high rate of speed, running a stop sign at the intersection of East park Road and Stony Point Road, resulting in a collision with another vehicle. According to authorities, no injuries were reported but the victim’s vehicle was damaged.
While being placed under arrest, Martinez allegedly obstructed governmental administration by refusing and physically preventing law enforcement from obtaining fingerprints, which are required during an arrest.
Martinez is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 25 and was released on his own recognizance as the charge is non-qualifying for bail.
After the arraignment of the DWI case, the court filed a motion, arguing Martinez be held without bail due to a pending homicide case in which Martinez was previously arraigned on two counts of murder in the second degree. He was released after posting bail set at $500,000 cash, bond, or property.
On Sept. 30, 2020, Martinez, allegedly, intentionally set a fire inside his girlfriend’s residence in a multi-family home on Concord Avenue where his girlfriend’s mother was in bed at the time. The mother, Maria Galazka, suffered multiple burns and smoke inhalation.
Galazka was transported to ECMC where she later died on Nov. 5, 2020, which was her 66th birthday.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says that this case is an example of a big problem with bail reform in New York, which mostly prohibits judges from considering how dangerous a person is to themselves or their community while setting bail.
“Here’s a guy who’s out on murder, he just allegedly was driving drunk — hit someone — totaled their car — he is a danger,” Flynn said. “If you add in dangerousness to the equation, by setting his girlfriend’s house on fire.”
In her State of the State address on Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul asked lawmakers to consider revisiting the law.
One Buffalo firefighter was also injured during the fire. He was taken to ECMC where he was treated and released. A resident, who lived in the upper apartment, was displaced but unharmed in the fire.
On Jan. 13, 2023, Supreme State Court Justice Paul B. Wojtaszek denied the motion to revoke bail. Martinez remains released on previously posted bail. A jury selection in the homicide trail is scheduled to begin on March 13.
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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.