Death by Fame on ID: How did Catherine Martinez die?

Catherine Martinez
Fitness model Catherine Martinez beaten and stabbed to death by her R&B boy band singer husband Russell Neal (Image via Daily Entertainment News)

24-year-old fitness model and aspiring boxer Catherine Martinez was found beaten and stabbed to death in her Houston apartment in early July 2014. An autopsy confirmed that she died of multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.

At the time, Martinez, also known as Brasilia Martinez in her profession, was married to Russell Neal, a member of the 90's R&B group Hi-Five. He was later arrested in connection with the murder. As the case progressed, Neal was declared mentally ill and he remains incompetent to stand trial. He was admitted to a mental institution.


An all-new episode of Death by Fame on ID will chronicle Catherine Martinez's murder case this Monday, February 20, 2023. The official synopsis of the episode states:

"In Houston, Texas, aspiring model Catherine Martinez falls for a former pop star she believes to be her ticket to stardom; however, when ambition and jealousy collide, a Hollywood dream becomes a real-life nightmare."

The episode, titled The Killing Game, airs on ID at 9.00 pm ET.

Fitness model and a mother-of-two Catherine Martinez was beaten and stabbed to death by her husband Russell Neal


In 2014, Catherine Martinez and her husband, Russell Neal, lived in Houston, Texas, with their two sons. The couple were in a strained marriage, with Martinez being the breadwinner and her husband having lost all his popularity and money.

However, on July 1 of that year, Neal walked into the Houston Police Department and told authorities that "they got in a fight and she [Martinez] needed medical attention." When medical personnel rushed to the apartment she shared with her two sons, they found a nightmare-like crime scene. She was last seen alive leaving her mother's house on June 28.

According to the authorities, they discovered Martinez dead, stabbed several times with a sharp object, and bludgeoned with a blunt object. It appeared like she had been violently attacked. Her young boys, Raphael, 3, and Diego, 5, were found in the apartment, locked away in a different room. An autopsy confirmed that she died of blunt force trauma and vicious stab wounds.

One of Catherine Martinez's sisters, Glenda Lewis, told True Crime Daily that:

"You couldn't tell it was her. I was just hoping they had the wrong person because it didn't look like her. I mean we all know she was beautiful but it didn't look like her at all."

Catherine Martinez's family revealed that Russell had been abusive towards her throughout


After making the shocking confession, Russell Neal refused to speak further and immediately requested a lawyer. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. However, he was released on a $100,000 bond which was revoked nearly a month later.

Catherine's family revealed that her husband had been abusive towards her the whole time. Her sister Glenda Lewis reportedly stated:

"There were bruises and scratches and she would try to come to our house with makeup, and she would try and cover it up with makeup. You would see the foundation, everything trying to cover up her eyes, but we would tell."

While in prison, Russell Neal started calling himself Jesus Christ and was admitted to a mental institution at Rusk State Hospital in Texas. The Harris County Court declared him mentally ill and unfit to stand trial after a year of treatment at the facility. Despite reports that police believe Neal was aware of his actions when he beat his wife to death in 2014, he remains unfit to stand trial.

ID's Death by Fame airs with a new episode on Monday, February 20, 2023.

Quick Links

Edited by Priya Majumdar
Be the first one to comment