Martinez, Sasha

Sasha Martinez

IDAHO FALLS — A woman who was sentenced to prison for her role in the kidnapping and torture of her housemate will have one year less to wait for potential parole.

District Judge Bruce Pickett reduced the fixed sentence of Sasha Martinez, 34, from five years in prison to four after she filed a rule 35 motion requesting that he reconsider her sentence. Pickett increased the indeterminate period of her sentence from 10 years to 11, so she could serve the same amount of time if she is not released on parole.

Martinez was sentenced in July for aggravated battery and felony possession of a controlled substance as part of a plea agreement that dropped a charge of first-degree kidnapping.

Martinez — along with her co-defendants Jorge Balderas, Laura Zamudio and Austin Alverado — were arrested in 2020 after they reportedly kidnapped a woman who lived with them, tied her to a chair and tortured her for three days.

Most of the torture described in the court records was reportedly committed by Balderas, who beat the victim, used heated metal tools and a blow torch on her, and lit a fire around her legs while she was tied up and could not move.

Martinez admitted to carving a scar into the victim’s face in the shape of the letter “N.” The letter reportedly stands for ‘Nana,” a nickname used by Martinez.

During her sentencing, Martinez’s attorney, Jason Gustaves emphasized that Martinez was in fear of her own safety from Balderas, who was reportedly the ringleader of the kidnapping. Gustaves said all of the women in the household lived in fear of being burned, a punishment that reportedly had happened before in the residence.

“Mr. Jorge controls the women around him, and if they don’t do what he says, they get the chair,” Gustaves said at the sentencing.

Gustaves noted Martinez was the first defendant to take responsibility for what happened and that Balderas had made threats against her in response. Balderas has been accused of ordering Martinez to attack other inmates, of threatening her if she did not withdraw her statement to police, and of trying to claim her daughter as his own.

Balderas has since pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and second-degree kidnapping. He is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Jan. 12 in Bonneville County Court.