Rudy Martinez: Childhood and Background

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[The following section is taken from Rudy’s Sentencing Hearing Transcript]

I am a drug dealer. That’s all I know how to do.  That’s all I have been doing all my life.  You know, [at sentencing Rudy’s trial attorney] Mr. Kling said, “Well, we are not going to talk about where Rudy Martinez came from and use that as an excuse.” And I don’t want to use that as a cop out either, because it’s a cheap cop out. But I would like to talk about where I did [come from and] where I have been raised and [Rudy’s co-defendant] Camilo [Testa] comes from the same place.

We come from a community on the north side of Chicago called Uptown.  It’s not a fancy neighborhood.  It’s not a poor neighborhood either, although probably 80% of the people are on general assistance, and for the most part they have probably been on general assistance for most of their lives.  You have everybody there in Uptown from all over the world. It’s not as you go to Bridgeport and it’s all white, you can go down to Halsted and it’s all Italian, go to the south side it’s all black, so you have everybody in Uptown.

I’ve never considered myself poor, in spite of just having my mother, my brother and my sister.  One time it came to my mind as far as being poor was … like around the sixth grade at Goudy School, the City used to pick four or five kids from each school every year around Christmas time, and they would take you to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  Well, one year I was picked to go to this field trip and whatnot.  And when I got there inside the Hyatt by O’Hare, there was a bunch of presents there and a big Christmas tree.  And they called your name and you went up there and you got this present. I went and got my box, and I opened it up and there was a coat, it was a nice coat.  I took off my parka and I put that coat on. It was a big coat with goose feathers, blue hood.  And I remember going to the washroom and there was another guy inside of the washroom room when I walked in there.  And one of the employees there was cleaning up, he came in and the guy asked him — he was washing his hands – he asked the employee, “What are all these kids doing here?” and [he] told him, “Those are poor kids to give them coats.”  I never considered myself poor.  And they walked out of the washroom.  And I remember putting that coat in the garbage because I didn’t want it, and I kept my parka because I was happy with that coat. So it isn’t a thing of my always needing something when I was growing up.  Nothing like that.  Never.

I remember me and my brother, when I was around 11 years old, and we joined the Boy Scouts along with my godmother’s son.  Well, we didn’t have the money for the uniforms like all of the rest of the Boy Scouts did, but my mother got us the shirts and couldn’t get us the pants, and which it didn’t matter to me, because we went to the Boy Scouts meeting in our neighborhood, all the kids didn’t have the full uniform anyway.  So you were just like all of the rest of the kids… [O]ne weekend we went on a Jamboree.  That’s where all of the Boy Scouts in the whole city come, from all the surrounding suburbs, throughout the City.  And I remember getting over there and I seen all of these tents everywhere.

Well, me and my brother we didn’t have a backpack.  We used to use the duffel bag and just put all our stuff inside of the duffel bag.  And I remember it was in DesPlaines somewhere.  I remember we had to hike 20 miles to get there.  So me and my brother always switching off with the duffel bags.  That weekend we spend the weekend there with all — hundreds and hundreds kids — and they had church services.  And each troop had to pick another troop to play against or whatnot.  And all of those kids from everywhere else they looked at us — the[re] was like seven or eight of us, we had the smallest group there, and nobody wanted to pick us because of the way we looked, you see.  We weren’t fully dressed and whatnot.  So we didn’t get to participate in any of those functions there.

I remember my Scout Master getting so pissed off he — we all went home.  We didn’t stay — I think it was like a four or five day thing — we didn’t stay for that.  We went back.  But you see it didn’t matter to me.  I could care less.  You know, I was there to have fun and be with my friends.  But I guess he was ashame[d], ashame[d] [of] the way we looked, maybe not being accepted by anybody…

My brother went to prison when I was 16 years old — 15 years old.  My mother wasn’t working because of a back injury she had, so we moved on Ridge and Glenwood.  There was a little Laundromat there.  And my mother used to clean the Laundromat — for $45 a week. My mother would get up at 6:00 o’clock in the morning, go open up the Laundromat.  And everyone that would lose their money in the machines, always come to our house knocking on the door.  We knew it wasn’t nobody to visit us because they wanted their quarters, we knew who it was.  They wanted their quarters and their dimes and whatnot.

My mother got sick one time, she went to the hospital, and I had to clean the Laundromat a week, week and a half.  I never knew how much my mother went through just to send my brother commissary money in prison.  And most people would think, well, cleaning a Laundromat is not a tough job, but it was.  For $45 a week I couldn’t believe what my mother was doing for $45 week.

I told myself something: There’s got to be something better out there.  It’s kind of hard when a person comes up to you and say you are making $45 a week or even $200 a month.  You are a 16-year-old kid and a guy comes up to you and puts a kilo front of you — this kilo here is going for $40,000, you can sell that for $40,000, we are paying $28,000 for it.  You can sell it up to 40 or whatever you want — whatever kind of profit you want.  Being in the streets, growing up in the streets, you meet a lot of people, sell and buy drugs.  I seen that as my way out.  I seen that as my only way out.  So what do you do when a guy says you can make $10,000 a month or you can stay inside the Laundromat and make $45 a week? What do you do?  In my case I took that kilo and found somebody to buy it.  And the person came back again, and again and again.

I am a 16-year old kid with a large amount of money.  I can go out and buy me clothes now.  Go out and buy me a car.  And go out and buy me a lot of stuff, because at least people will have some kind of respect for me then if you just show them material things.  People have always looked down on me –not the people from Uptown, because in Uptown everybody is equal.  There is nobody better than you in Uptown.

But I remember going to restaurants with my friends.  Some are nice restaurants, and they would sit us on the side or they would sit us in the back.  I was always wondering why can’t we sit up there by the window.  But you know, [one of the prosecutors at Rudy’s trial] Ms. Pepper, when she stated that Rudy Martinez is making a lot of money, you know, he shops at Bigsby & Kruthers — $800 suits, $1,000 suits it’s not the suit that makes the man, as some people may say. Some people may say it’s the man that makes the suit.  Because it’s obvious now I don’t have my suit on today, I am still the same person, but people don’t look at you that way.  I remember buying my first suit and putting it on that weekend and I wanted to go out everywhere — go to this restaurant, to this nightclub, here and there.  And it’s amazing how different people treat you. When you walk inside a nice restaurant — Shaw’s to be exact — and we got a nice table there.  There was a line of people there, we didn’t have to wait.  Why?  Because three or four guys walked in with nice suits.  We went right ahead.

Childhood and Background

Drug Dealing and Arrest

The Plea Deal

Reflections

Sentencing Hearing