Homicide suspect loses Public Defender’s representation

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Nov. 10—WILKES-BARRE — Homicide suspect Natanihel Sanmartin kept a secret.

Sanmartin, 41, failed to disclose to the Luzerne County Public Defender’s Office that he owned rental property on Fifth Street in West Pittston when he applied for a public defender to represent him on criminal homicide charges.

Wilkes-Barre police detectives charged Sanmartin with fatally shooting his girlfriend, Carla Pina, inside their shared residence at 42 Darling St. on Feb. 12.

Soon after he was charged with the fatal shooting, he submitted an application to the Public Defender’s Office and was deemed eligible due to his financial status.

Attorney Demetrius Fannick, a premiere defense attorney in the region and a public defender, was assigned to represent Sanmartin.

However, Sanmartin failed to report on his Public Defender’s application that he owned rental property in West Pittston, which would make him ineligible for representation from the office, according to a motion filed by Fannick to withdraw from representing Sanmartin.

Records attached to the motion indicate Sanmartin purchased the rental property in May 2021, and earned rental income until he sold the property in July 2023, for $70,000.

Judge David W. Lupas issued an order relieving the Public Defender’s Office from representing Sanmartin.

Lupas’ order marks the second time the Public Defender’s Office was removed from the case.

On the day of Sanmartin’s preliminary hearing in April, Fannick learned Sanmartin had retained a private attorney to represent him on the criminal homicide case.

After the preliminary hearing, the private attorney left Sanmartin and he applied again for representation from the Public Defender’s Office, again failing to list the rental property on his second application.

Sanmartin is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing and status conference before Lupas on Nov. 21.

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