Suspect in 2016 murder of local father appears in front of a judge for the first time

Joey Martinez appears in court Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. (KSNV)

For the first time, the suspect in the 2016 shooting death of a local father faced a judge.

For nearly two years, the victim’s family has been waiting for for a suspect to be arrested and charged in the case. Joey Martinez, 22, faced a judge Thursday for the murder.

Defense attorney Adam Solinger represented Martinez at the hearing Thursday. Solinger told the judge “(Martinez) turned himself in Washington,” where he was extradited to Las Vegas for the murder. Martinez pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In February 2016, police say Steven Spurlin was shot and killed in broad daylight, near Rainbow and Buffalo. Witnesses reportedly saw Spurlin jumping out of a car with his hands up, before multiple shots were fired.

Outside the courtroom, Spurlin’s mother, Ida Spurlin spoke exclusively to News 3.

“Steven was amazing. We love him so much and we have to stand here in his place,” said Spurlin. “It’s rough but we’re still standing. We are standing as a family and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

Spurlin said she plans to be at every single court date, fighting for justice on behalf of her son.

“I’m more angry than anything, so I’m happy that he has to face what he’s done,” she added.

The victim’s now 8-year-old daughter also spoke out, stating that her father will always be with them.

“They’ll say I can act like him sometimes, they’ll actually accidentally say my name as Steven,” she giggled. “A lot of the times they’ll say my dad’s name!”

Martinez is preparing to go to trial for the murder.

He will face a judge once again Nov.16.

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