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Man found not guilty of murder in connection to 2020 Buffalo house fire

The charges stemmed from a Sept. 30, 2020, fire at Maria Galakza’s home in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Daniel Martinez was found not guilty of second-degree murder Thursday afternoon in the death of his former girlfriend’s mother, Maria Galazka.

The charges stemmed from a Sept. 30, 2020, fire at Galakza’s home in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

A string of evidence placed Martinez at the scene, including video surveillance that showed him walking up to the front of the house and then leaving in the early moments of the fire. 

Prosecutors also identified a vehicle with the same make and model as one registered in his name at the scene that night.

But according to his defense team, Martinez’s visit was nothing out of the ordinary.

“They had had a relationship,” his attorney Paul Cambria said. “They traded a lot of phone calls and so on, and so it wasn't unusual for him to be visiting her at this time, or other times. And like I say, at the time that this fire was apparently burning, he was casually walking over getting in his car. There wasn't anything to indicate on his part that he was fleeing the scene.”

According to fire investigators, it’s still unclear what caused the fire, but the defense cited that the house had a history of fires, so it wouldn’t be inconsistent for it to be started by the occupant. 

Galazka suffered heavy smoke inhalation and multiple burns during the fire. She died 36 days later at ECMC on her 66th birthday. 

Martinez is still facing an additional murder charge, but his defense team tells me they expecting a similar result. 

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