Victim's family reacts to teen's arrest in fatal Clifton shooting

By: Kelly Asmuth Email
By: Kelly Asmuth Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A 16-year-old Clifton teenager, Kenneth Cates, has turned himself into the Mesa County Sheriff's Office after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He's wanted in connection to the death of 16-year-old Troy Martinez, also of Clifton.

Cates is being charged with reckless manslaughter, tampering with evidence, illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile and false reporting to authorities. He's being held in the Youth Detention Facility without bond.

On Sept. 1, Martinez was shot to death at Cate's house on Susan Street in Clifton. The details have been kept under wraps until now.

The affidavit states that Cates had called 911 in hysterics that afternoon. He told deputies that the two were taking apart a gun.
Cates said it somehow went off in his hands, striking Martinez and killing him.

However, the report goes on to say how Cates changed the story, about the gun he found in his grandmother's garage.

Cates later admitted that he loaded the pistol and shot it into his bedroom floor several times until he thought it was empty, as Martinez looked on. Cates said he aimed the gun at the boy he called his best friend, and pulled the trigger.

The report reads, "I (investigator) asked why he pointed the gun at Troy when he pulled the trigger. Kenny lowered his head and said, 'I don't know.'"

Deputies found Martinez shot in the face in front of the home, after he took his last steps. Cates is being charged as a juvenile, a decision Martinez's family sorely regrets.

"Our child's life is lost and I think that he should be in jail a lot longer than two years, if that's what ends up happening," says Troy's sister-in-law, Kelly Martinez.

"I think that anybody capable of doing that, there's so big issues there. They need to be dealt with. I don't think a slap on the wrist is a solution," says Troy's brother, Chris.

Cates is expected to appear in court Monday.


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  • by troys friends lil sis Location: gj colorado on Oct 19, 2010 at 05:36 PM
    Troy we all love You! Your safe now and away from that murderer. R.I.p
    Man you are and will always be loved and missed. Love your friends lil sis emilie
  • by Ashlee- Troy's homie Location: Grand Junction on Oct 7, 2010 at 07:49 AM
    I beilieve that Kenny deserves to be charged as an adult, if you are going to be making adult decisions, like drugs and guns, than you deserve to be charged as one too. Troy was one of my best friends. And, because of some kid, that doesn't have his head screwed on right, I get to grow up without one of the most loving,caring,and generous boy I've ever had the pleasure to know. I know Troy is up in heaven, looking down at us, thinking that we shouldn't be holding grudges against Kenny. But, I'm sorry Troy, this is no accident. I will fight until the day I join Troy to make Kenny's life a living hell, just like he caused all of us. Kenny- You are a selfish, lying, disgusting peice of work. If I EVER see you, you better be ready. I won't let you EVER live this down. Troy is my brother, my homie, and now my gaurdian angel. I hate you. I HATE YOU. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU!!!! I love Troy's family, and my prayers go out to them. But as for that murderer, your sins, will send you to hell
  • by sheri Location: grand jct on Oct 4, 2010 at 07:25 AM
    Someone should be asking WHY was Cates home schooled? He was home schooled because he threatened to poisen teachers (more than 1 of them), he wanted to hurt or kill them. This shooting was NOT an accident as Cates claims!! The DA should look into this kids past, he will find out stuff he really does not want to find out then after that charge him with murder as an adult!!!
  • by Kelly Martinez on Oct 3, 2010 at 07:20 AM
    You can go ahead and believe it was an accident if that is what helps you sleep better at night. Accidents don't usually have to be lied about or need to have evidence hidden.While I believe that this young adult should know better at the age of 16 not to point a gun at anyone, you are right about parents being lazy. Non-participating or neglectful parents and grandparents should be held responsible. If he has any conscious what so ever, he will have to live with this the rest of his life but at least he will have a life and children and memories beyond that of 16 years old. Our Troy will not have that opportunity.
  • by dmcp Location: grand junction on Oct 2, 2010 at 11:55 AM
    This was an accident. I do not believe for one second this young man intended to kill his best friend. My heart goes out to both famalies. Kenneth has a long road in front of him. He will have to deal with this the rest of his life.
  • by kelly Location: grand jct on Oct 2, 2010 at 09:29 AM
    I feel that the adults in this tradgedy should also be held to some responsiblity. Why is a child being left alone so long that no one knows he is playing with a gun? Our world has changed for the worst because parents are becoming lazy and uninvolved. Know where your children are and what they are doing.
  • by Kelly Martinez Location: Grand Junction on Oct 2, 2010 at 01:54 AM
    They were not like brothers and I told Troy he was not to be around this kid before! He was not welcome at my Father's house or around Troy at all. This boy has shot and killed our Troy and he is dangerous to all other children out there. he has threatened and endangered others and he needs help and a lot of prayer! Love you Troy...sleep with the angels...Kelly xo
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