Top state court rejects appeal of deaf, mute defendant

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s top court says it doesn’t have jurisdiction in the appeal of a deaf and mute man who has been confined for 13 years despite never having stood trial for the 2005 slaying he is charged with.

Forty-three-year-old Oswaldo Elias Martinez has been repeatedly found not competent to stand trial on charges that he raped and murdered 16-year-old Brittany Binger. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that lack of a trial figured into the Virginia Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling.

The unanimous ruling sent the case to circuit court because there’s never been a conviction in the criminal case.

Martinez had challenged his continued confinement. Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green has said someone “unrestorably incompetent” who’s charged with capital murder and poses a danger must continue along the restoration process.

Martinez’s lawyer didn’t respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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