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 in James City County.
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.