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Badge and Bar: Motions hearing scheduled in murder case

POSTED: February 27, 2014 12:13 a.m.

Attorneys for a man accused of malice murder in the death of a young child have filed a motion in Hall County Superior Court saying the charges violate their client’s right to not be subject to double jeopardy.

Victor Alfonso Martinez, 31, had previously been implicated in a newborn baby’s traumatic injuries caused by shaking. Edwin Ledesma, 6, died in March, and Martinez was indicted on a charge of malice murder in September stemming from the death.

In 2006, Martinez, also listed in the indictment as Victor Ledesma, pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated battery and cruelty to a child in the first degree after the days-old boy suffered the injuries. The murder indictment states Ledesma succumbed to those injuries on March 11.

According to court records from the 2006 charges, the baby suffered a fractured leg, deafness and retinal bleeding, which caused blindness.

Public Defender Brett Willis wrote that further prosecution of the defendant, having already been sentenced in the offense, “violates procedural and substantive double jeopardy.”

Martinez is currently serving a 20-year sentence in state prison.

The motion, and others filed by the defense, are scheduled to be heard March 25 at 9 a.m. in Judge Bonnie Oliver’s courtroom.

Gainesville man acquitted of molestation charges

A Gainesville man was acquitted Friday in Hall County Superior Court on child molestation charges.

Alexander Clark, 28, was accused in November of molesting a young girl and indicted in July on three counts of aggravated child molestation and three counts of child molestation.

A well-known face — or voice — represented Clark. Page Pate, an Atlanta attorney who is chief legal analyst for Atlanta’s affiliate public radio station and periodic commentator for CNN, led Clark’s defense team.

Pate said the jury’s decision was a fair reflection of the evidence.

“Our position, and apparently the jury agreed, was that these allegations did not make any sense,” Pate said. “The things the girl said happened in such a short period of time, and was not consistent with her behavior or the circumstances.”

Pate said most of the defense theories were made during cross-examination, but that evidence from medical records and a defense expert in medical forensic interviews was also admitted.

District Attorney Lee Darragh said the jury’s decision was to be respected, but it would not deter efforts “to support molested children seeking justice.”

“The victim in this case testified clearly about what happened to her, and in that much surrounding evidence supported her testimony, a jury verdict in this case could readily have gone in the other direction,” Darragh said. “Hopefully, as she continues therapy to help her cope with having been molested, the child will take comfort in the fact that there are many who continue to support and believe her, and she can stand tall having done the right thing, regardless of the result.”

Pate disagreed that the evidence could support a conviction, and said his “biggest concern” was a compromise verdict swayed by emotion, leading to a conviction on one of the six charges.

The mandatory minimum sentence on an aggravated child molestation conviction is 25 years.

Emma Witman covers public safety issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:

ewitman@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/timesemmawitman

@EmmaWTimes


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