On February 2, 2016, Herbert Jon Cruz and Jennifer Lynne Martinez plead guilty to multiple felony charges for the home invasion robbery and death threats they committed against me and my caregiver “C” on Nov. 28, 2014 in San Diego, CA.
On March 3, they will be formally sentenced. Herbert Cruz (also known as Herbie Cruz) will receive 15 years 6 months in prison, and Jennifer Martinez (also known as Jennifer Alarcon) will receive 11 years 4 months in prison, for the attack on me as well as her involvement in burglarizing homes while their owners were attending loved ones’ funerals. The convictions for what she did to me added 5 years to her sentence. They must both serve at least 85% of their sentences, so with good behavior and time served, Herbert Cruz could be released from prison in August 2030, and Jennifer Martinez in June 2026.
I feel that the sentencing is fair, especially for Herbert Cruz who physically committed the home invasion robbery and threw me out of my wheelchair. I would have liked to see Jennifer Martinez get a longer sentence for my case, as I believe she planned the attack, however with her other convictions, she will be going away for a long time. Most importantly, she has multiple strikes and will never be able to work as an IHSS provider again, or at a nursing home or group home. If she attempts to work privately as a home health caregiver or in any other position of trust, I can only pray that anyone considering hiring her will do a background check, or search for her online and find this page. Although both Jennifer Martinez and Herbert Cruz will no doubt look quite different by the time they are released from prison, I am posting their current photos here, so that they can be easily identified should someone research them for potential hiring in a sensitive position, and so that other innocent persons who may have the same or similar names will not be associated with these despicable individuals.
I supported the plea bargains to avoid having to travel back to San Diego for a trial. I have already been through so much, and I know it would have been emotionally devastating and a major trigger for the PTSD I experience as a result of the home invasion robbery. I also did not want my former caregiver, C, who was there during the robbery and a victim too, to go through the pain of a trial when she is trying to move on with her life.
Although this concludes the conviction portion of the case against Herbert Cruz and Jennifer Martinez, it’s not over yet. The matter of restitution and victims’ compensation remains. I hope to get a restitution order, but realistically, I’m unlikely to ever get much money from them. I’ll get bits and pieces from their work in prison, but nowhere near my losses. Even when they get out of prison, who is going to hire someone who attacked a woman in a wheelchair, or broke into the homes of people whose loved ones just died? Nobody, if they do a background check or find this page. Perhaps they could get a nice job at the landfill, where human garbage belongs.
This was far more than a home invasion robbery. Herbert Cruz and Jennifer Martinez’ attack on my life wrecked me financially. I was forced to move thousands of miles away from San Diego due to their death threats, lost my IHSS home care funding because I moved out-of-state, had to pay for 11 months of caregivers out of pocket, and had to renovate a home so I could move into it. I’ve added up the total losses and it’s over $50,000. That’s actual costs I have a right to claim, not pain and suffering or punitive damages. I don’t know what C’s costs have been exactly, but they are high too – she lost her job because of the attack and me having to move, and had to go back to school because she no longer felt safe working as an IHSS provider. Realistically, our only hope of being made whole again is victims’ compensation. The state should be reimbursing us for our losses. But they’re not.
I have been struggling to get help from victims’ compensation for over a year now, but they’re dragging their feet. I’ll be sending them the latest detailed documents I put together, but they basically already told me it would be denied, and I’d have to appeal. I find it absolutely disgusting that the state of California refuses to help me after a caregiver they approved, who was in the limited pool of people I could hire on short notice, committed these crimes. I am a law-abiding, educated, hard-working woman who happens to have a disability. I should not have been forced to bring a dangerous person into my home, a person whom I never would have hired if the IHSS program could get new caregivers enrolled in 2-3 weeks as is typical for other states.
It’s appalling that no changes have been made to IHSS to better protect recipients and act swiftly on complaints about criminal IHSS care providers. I still don’t know if there were ever any past complaints about Jennifer Martinez. I find it very hard to believe that I was the only one she stole from and victimized.
For these reasons and others, this story is not over. I am healing emotionally and finding enjoyment in life, but this experience has become part of who I am, too. When they attacked me, they messed with the wrong person. I’ve always been a leader and an activist. I am choosing to channel my feelings of loss and anger towards fighting for justice, first for myself and C. When I win that fight, my next goal will be to help other people with disabilities and seniors who have been victimized by abusive home health care providers, and advocate for more laws to protect us. I believe I was put here to make the world a better place, and no matter what, I will never give up.
Read my story from the beginning here: Part 1: Shattered