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Judge receives transcripts before making ruling in capital rape, murder case

A circuit court judge received $425 in transcripts related to the case of a deaf and mute man accused of raping and killing a James City teenager more than 11 years ago.

Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court Judge William H. Shaw, III, received 50 pages of transcripts that detail an April hearing for Oswaldo Elias Martinez.

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

Martinez cannot hear or speak and had no formal language training at the time of the crime. He was receiving American Sign Language lessons at Central State Hospital until doctors said he would never be made competent to stand trial in July 2013, court documents state.

Martinez is currently being held at the hospital where his treatment includes educational classes with little assistance from an ASL interpreter, defense attorney Tim Clancy said during an April 29 hearing.

Virginia Code allows prosecutors to seek indefinite treatment in capital murder cases if the prosecutor can prove that the treatment is medically appropriate, said Williamsburg-James City County Commonwealth's Attorney Nate Green.

Shaw is preparing to make a written ruling on Martinez's fate. His ruling will be the first time a decision has been made on the code section that allows prosecutors to seek indefinite treatment, Green said.

Shaw received the transcripts from Schneider and Associates, a Newport News company that provides court reporters for the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court.The transcripts costs $8.50 per page.

The transcripts detail an April 12 hearing in which Clancy and Green argued over the definition of medically appropriate treatment.

Green argued that the state has the right to hold Martinez as long as the treatment he's receiving isn't medically inappropriate. Green defined medically appropriate treatment as that which does not harm the person receiving it.

Clancy believes it's not medically appropriate to continue holding Martinez because he is not being treated for a medical condition.

Martinez has not been diagnosed as having any type of mental disability, only impaired ability to understand court proceedings, Clancy said.

Clancy asked Shaw to dismiss both capital murder charges on April 29. If the judge does not rule in favor of the dismissal Clancy plans to pursue a constitutional case on the legitimacy of indefinitely holding a person who cannot stand trial.

Mayfield can be reached at 757-298-5828.

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