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Friday, May 24, 2024

Report: Deaf, mute man accused in 2005 murder remains ‘unrestorably incompetent’

Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)
Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)

A report from Central State Hospital this month states a deaf and mute man who allegedly killed a 16-year-old girl in 2005 remains incompetent to stand trial.

The April 19 report states Oswaldo Martinez, 46, is “unrestorably” incompetent and doctors expect that to “continue indefinitely,” defense attorney Tim Clancy said Monday.

The report was prepared by a doctor at Central State Hospital, in Petersburg, ahead of a check status hearing for Martinez Monday afternoon in the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court.

Martinez, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, is accused of raping and murdering 16-year-old Brittany Binger on Jan. 2, 2005, according to court documents. He is charged with capital murder.

Martinez cannot speak any language, including American Sign Language, and has been in both jail and psychiatric facilities since his February 2005 arrest. He has not been able to learn enough ASL to understand the legal proceedings against him, Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green has said at previous court hearings.

Judge William H. Shaw wrote a letter of opinion for the case March 24, and stated in court Monday that Martinez remains incompetent to stand trial and will remain in treatment as he is currently.

Clancy said the letter leaves no ability to directly appeal the judge’s decision to keep Martinez institutionalized until he’s found competent to stand trial. 

From left to right: Brittany Binger and Leslie Chambers, both 16, pose for a picture in October 2004. Binger was found raped and murdered about three months later on Jan. 2, 2005. (Courtesy Leslie Chambers)
From left to right: Brittany Binger and Leslie Chambers, both 16, pose for a picture in October 2004. Binger was found raped and murdered about three months later on Jan. 2, 2005. (Courtesy Leslie Chambers)

Clancy filed a motion in response to the judge’s letter, requesting he reconsider and give a definitive opinion on what the next steps for Martinez would be if he cannot stand trial.

Shaw agreed to write a response to Clancy’s motion within 21 days.

Green said Martinez “continues to act out sexually” at Central State and is a danger to himself and others.

Binger’s close childhood friend, Leslie Chambers, 28, was also present for the court hearing. Chambers has gone to many of Martinez’s court hearings over the last 12 years.

“Twelve years later and I’m still here in this courthouse,” Chambers said, adding that the case would “never really be over,” whether there is a trial or not.

Martinez’s next check status court appearance is scheduled for Oct 23 at 1 p.m.

WYDaily archives were used in this story.

Fearing may be reached at

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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