Soldier's murder trial faces delay
The trial for a soldier accused of murdering two officers in Iraq in summer 2005 could be delayed another 40 days by prosecutors seeking to strengthen their case.
Jury selection in the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez of Troy, N.Y., is scheduled to begin on June 24. Prosecutors at a Fort Bragg pre-trial hearing on Thursday said they need a key piece of evidence that was suppressed in the fall: statements that Martinez made to investigators shortly after an explosion that killed Capt. Phillip T. Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen of the New York National Guard.
Martinez is accused of detonating a mine to kill the officers. There has been testimony that he clashed with Esposito, his commanding officer, and faced a reprimand — which could cost him a rank and pay — for illegally giving military-owned computer printers to an Iraqi. If convicted, he could get the death penalty.
Other developments in the case:
The prosecutors asked Henley to permit a closed-circuit video feed of the court-martial be transmitted to upstate New York so the family and friends of Martinez can more conveniently observe the case. The trial is expected to run approximately five to eight weeks, not including the time required for jury selection.
Defense lawyers asked for all autopsy photos to be suppressed because images of the men’s wounds might mislead and inflame the jury. Prosecutors argued they need the photos to describe the officers’ injuries to the jury.
And the case keeps dragging on, as Martinez's lawyers look for any technicality they can find to avoid facing the facts about this case; facts that hang a big "guilty" sign around their clients neck. In the meantime, the families of the two murdered men continue to suffer through delay after delay, unable to move on with their lives. It's been three years, for crying out loud. Whatever happened to "Justice delayed is justice denied?"