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Judge to decide whether sexually violent predator can be placed in Borrego Springs home

San Diego Superior Court Judge David Gill has an important decision to make.

The California Department of State Hospitals is recommending that Michael Martinez, a sexually violent predator, be placed in a home on Running M Road in Borrego Springs.

But Gill also heard Friday morning from more than a dozen Borrego Springs residents who made the two-hour drive to San Diego to say they don’t want Martinez in their community. They gathered outside of San Diego Superior Court before the hearing to express their opposition.

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Carlos Castillo
Borrego Springs resident Terrie Kellmeyer speaks to the media in front of San Diego Superior Court on July 8, 2022.

“It is shocking and completely inappropriate that a sexually violent predator could live next door to children," said Terrie Kellmeyer, a mother of three.

Linda Arambula described her reaction to reading about the proposed placement on Facebook. “I was in shock,” she said.

Arambula came to the hearing with her 15-year-old daughter and 15-year-old niece. She also has a 14-year-old boy and two grandchildren who visit frequently. She lives two doors down from the house where Martinez could be placed.

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Carlos Castillo
Borrego Springs resident Linda Arambula, who lives two doors down from the proposed home, speaks to KPBS outside court on July 8, 2022.

“We’re gonna be in fear, like: 'Where is he at? We don’t know.' Sometimes the internet gets down and electricity gets down and we’re more vulnerable for him," she said.

The company that contracts with the state to run supervised houses is Liberty Healthcare Corporation, which says it embraces challenges that seem to defy solutions on its website.

Jon Stillman told Gill that Liberty Healthcare’s decision to put a sexually violent predator in his neighborhood defies logic.

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Carlos Castillo
Borrego Springs residents speak to the media outside San Diego Superior Court on July 8, 2022.

“Nobody knocked on the doors of any of the immediate neighbors. I’m not sure how Liberty Healthcare is so sure that this is the right property. They didn’t talk to any neighbors. They didn’t know that two of those houses on my block have young children," Stillman said.

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San Diego County Sheriff's Department
Convicted sexually violent predator Michael Martinez is shown in this undated booking photo.

As much as they undoubtedly wanted a resolution, the residents who drove over from Borrego Springs did not get one. Instead, Gill will visit the site in the coming weeks to make his own assessment. A ruling probably won’t come for a few weeks.