Evidence to be heard in 11-year-old rape, murder case

amayfield@vagazette.com

More evidence may be presented next week at a hearing for a deaf and mute man accused of raping and killing a James City teenager more than 11 years ago.

Oswaldo Elias Martinez, a 45-year-old illegal immigrant from El Salvador, is accused of beating, raping and strangling Brittany Binger, 16, on Jan. 2, 2005, according to documents from Williamsburg/James City County Circuit Court.

Binger's body was found near the entrance to Whispering Pines Mobile Home Court on Jan. 3, 2005, court documents state.

Martinez was arrested on May 19, 2005 after police connected his DNA with evidence found at the crime scene, according to a Gazette article published in August 2007.

Martinez could not speak or write at the time of the crime. He had no formal language training in English, Spanish or American Sign Language, according to court documents.

Experts spent about eight years trying to teach Martinez ASL before doctors reported that he would probably never be competent to assist his own defense and stand trial in July 2013, according to an article published in the Daily Press on Sept. 21, 2013.

Substitute Judge William Shaw ruled that Martinez will never be competent enough to stand trial on Sept. 19, 2013.

Since that ruling Williamsburg-James City County Commonwealth's Attorney Nate Green has been working to prove that Martinez should continue receiving medical treatment at Central State Hospital in Petersburg.

Virginia code allows prosecutors to seek indefinite medical treatment in capital murder cases if the prosecutor can prove that the treatment is medically appropriate, Green said.

The hearing in Williamsburg/James City County Circuit Court on April 12 will address the question of whether Martinez's case meets the criteria for continued treatment, although Green does not expect the judge to make a ruling that day.

Daily Press and Virginia Gazette archives were used in this article.

Mayfield can be reached at 757-298-5828.

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