Cedar Hill-area woman accused of child abuse, boiling puppies gets plea deal, probation

Judge denied defendant's request for conditional discharge, which victim opposed

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Marth Crouch pleaded no contest to a fourth-degree felony count of attempted child abuse during a Dec. 8 virtual hearing in Aztec District Court.
  • She was accused of repeatedly striking her then 17-year-old daughter with a spatula, shooting a dog and boiling multiple puppies in a large pot in the family’s residence in the Cedar Hill area.
  • Chief District Court Judge Curtis Gurley sentenced Crouch to supervised probation by suspending a year and six-month sentence to the New Mexico Department of Corrections.

FARMINGTON — The woman accused of felony child abuse and boiling puppies has taken a plea deal and has been placed on probation for a single felony attempted child abuse conviction, possibly avoiding any prison time.

Martha Crouch, 56, was charged on June 24, 2019, with a third-degree felony count of child abuse, a fourth-degree felony count of extreme cruelty to animals along with a petty misdemeanor count of obstruction of investigation of child abuse, according to The Daily Times archives.

Crouch pleaded no contest to a fourth-degree felony count of attempted child abuse during a Dec. 8 virtual hearing in Aztec District Court.

The plea deal was reached in consultation with the victim, who the county prosecutor said wanted to end the case but also wanted Crouch to have a felony conviction on her criminal record.

Chief District Court Judge Curtis Gurley sentenced Crouch to supervised probation by suspending a year and six-month sentence to the New Mexico Department of Corrections.

Crouch was accused of repeatedly striking her then 17-year-old daughter with a spatula, shooting a dog and boiling multiple puppies in a large pot in the family’s residence in the Cedar Hill area.

She was also accused of obstructing and interfering an investigation by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.

The defendant was set for a Dec. 17 jury trial in Aztec District Court, which has been canceled.

More:Incoming Navajo Police Chief Daryl Noon eager to continue improving department

Martha Crouch, seen in this July 25, 2019, file photo while being wheeled into District Judge Curtis Gurley's courtroom at the Aztec District Court building, took a felony attempted child abuse plea deal on Dec. 8, 2021 and may avoid prison time.

No physical evidence of animal cruelty

As part of the plea agreement, the extreme cruelty to animals and obstruction of investigation of child abuse charges were dismissed.

Prosecutor Ned Fuller told the court the prosecution only had the testimony of one person for the extreme cruelty to animals charge with no physical evidence to present.

Crouch, through her attorney Tyson Quail, requested a conditional discharge for her conviction, citing no prior criminal convictions and her age.

A conditional discharge would allow the defendant to avoid a felony conviction on her criminal record if probation is completed.

Judge Gurley did not grant the conditional discharge, stating it was something the victim did not desire.

Fuller told the court the victim had expressed frustration with her mother and would like to close this chapter of her life, which is what led to the plea agreement.

More:Farmington park closed as police investigate shooting that left one man injured

Fuller added the victim felt it was important for Crouch to have a felony conviction on her record.

Patrick Crouch, one of Martha’s adult children, told Judge Gurley he wishes for the court case to be over so the family can work on getting back together.

Martha told the court she has complied with all court orders and will continue to abide by them, including not contacting her two minor children that live out of state.

She was difficult to understand at times while speaking to the court as she cried in the video conference call.

Judge Gurley noted if Martha violated her probation and gets sent to a state prison, she will have 221 days of pre-sentence confinement credit for the time she spent in the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

He added that time does not apply toward her probation.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e

More:Woman accused of beating daughter, shooting dog and boiling puppies

Woman charged with boiling puppies, child abuse found competent to stand trial