Jan. 29 trial set in Ottawa home invasion

Martinez faces up to 50 years if convicted

Fernando J. Martinez

An Ottawa man will stand trial Jan. 29 on charges alleging that he broke into a home and exchanged gunfire with an occupant.

Fernando J. Martinez, 20, appeared Thursday in La Salle County Circuit Court for arraignment. Trial dates then were set on charges of home invasion, a Class X felony carrying up to 50 years, and a lesser (but still serious) charge of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

The trial setting is fluid, as Martinez appeared without a lawyer but told Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. that he still is trying to retain private counsel.

An attorney could, on or before the next court appearance Jan. 19, seek a postponement.

Martinez was determined to be a suspect in the break-in reported Nov. 2 in the 1100 block of Pine Street in Ottawa.

There, a resident told Ottawa police that two men entered her bedroom, placed a gun to her head and ordered her to provide the combination to a safe, which she was unable to do.

The victim, after hearing signs of forced entry, had texted her boyfriend, and he arrived armed, resulting in an exchange of gunfire with one of the intruders.

Martinez was spotted later at Morris Hospital being treated with a gunshot wound to his arm. He was taken into custody.

Martinez previously was ordered to be detained in the La Salle County Jail while awaiting trial. At the time of the break-in, Martinez was on parole for an aggravated battery conviction and had been granted pretrial release in a pending auto burglary case.