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May 22, 2007

Deaf Mute Competency

From: WHSV, VA - May 22, 2007


A Williamsburg judge will wait another six months before setting a trial date for an illegal immigrant who cannot hear or speak who's charged with raping and killing a teenager.

The judge ruled yesterday that lawyers for 35-year-old Oswaldo Martinez can to travel to Western State Hospital to begin working with him on his defense.

Martinez has been at the state hospital in Staunton since September 2005, when he was found incompetent to stand trial for the murder of 16-year-old Brittany Binger, because he was unable to communicate with his attorneys.

Martinez is charged with rape, murder, sodomy and robbery in connection with Binger's death. Investigators believe the teenager was jumped from behind near her home in James City County in January 2005, then raped and killed.

Martinez has been receiving intensive sign-language therapy to understand the charges against him and help with his own defense. Prosecutors said yesterday that Martinez has made extraordinary progress at Western State, and can communicate with doctors and staff there.

© 2007 WHSV