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updated: 8/16/2011 4:50 AM

Public defender: Facio 'perplexed me'

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  • Public Defender James Martin represented Angel Facio after he stabbed Elgin High School teacher Carolyn Gilbert repeatedly in January 2008. Martin was a special-education teacher for 13 years before becoming a lawyer.

       Public Defender James Martin represented Angel Facio after he stabbed Elgin High School teacher Carolyn Gilbert repeatedly in January 2008. Martin was a special-education teacher for 13 years before becoming a lawyer.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Cook County Public Defender James Martin has represented hundreds of juveniles over the years. Some details of their cases naturally blur with the passage of time.

But Angel Facio's case, he says, remains crystal clear in his mind, more than three years later.

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"Oh my gosh. Yes. I do remember Angel. I remember him well," Martin said.

The case, he says, continues to perplex him.

"The motive wasn't a hatred of a teacher. He didn't seek her out (because) she wronged him," Martin said. "It always perplexed me to what the thought process was."

In arguing for the case to be kept in juvenile court, Martin told the judge that Facio had been crying out for help. He pointed to a journal discovered by Facio's chess coach, a school counselor, that described Facio's parents' fighting, his mother's drug use and his own thoughts of suicide. The coach turned the journal over to Facio's mother who never read it until after the attack. She has not responded to repeated requests for comment for this story and since the attack.

Why Facio acted out -- and so violently -- Martin finds himself still wondering. "The human mind is very complex," he said. "Certainly most attacks on people are motivated by robbery or personal gain, vengeance, road rage, a clash of temper, confrontations or deliberate attempts to kill someone for a specific reason. But this one is unique in the sense that it seems like it was (random)."

Martin said there are "some question marks" in Facio's past.

"It wasn't going to help me to have those questions answered for purposes of what I was trying to accomplish," he said. "It takes a long time studying that to find it out. ... There was enough information that I did get into. It was my job to explain to the judge that this young man was under an inordinate amount of stress because of his mother and the drugs and worrying about his brothers."

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