Crime

They’re charged with 1990s rapes of two boys. A Benton County jury couldn’t reach a verdict

Jurors could not agree on whether two former Tri-City brothers raped two boys in the mid-1990s.

A mistrial was declared last week in the cases against Alejandro S. Martinez and Eduardo S. Martinez because of the jury’s inability to reach a unanimous decision.

The two men will be back in Benton County Superior Court Wednesday for the setting of a new trial date.

Eduardo Martinez, 38, is charged with two counts of first-degree child rape.

Alejandro Martinez, 39, is only accused of raping one grade-school boy.

Both of them deny the allegations and reportedly say one of the boys made up the story to get out of trouble.

This was the second mistrial for Eduardo Martinez. His first trial in May came to an abrupt end when a detective mistakenly testified about part of the investigation that the jury wasn’t supposed to hear about.

The cases then were joined for the same trial, with both brothers going before one jury. Their attorneys objected to the move.

The two men were living in Connecticut — 2,750 miles away — when they were arrested in early March.

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Eduardo Salgado Martinez, left, and Alejandro Ocampo Martinez are charged with child rapes from 1995 in Benton County. The brothers were arrested March 8 at their home in Connecticut. Norwalk Police Department

A Norwalk police detective had learned the brothers were wanted on the Washington state cases, but their warrants were only local at the time. Benton County prosecutors had the warrants expanded to nationwide.

At the time of the arrests, the Norwalk Police Department and the Connecticut Department of Corrections listed their names as Alejandro Ocampo Martinez and Eduardo Salgado Martinez.

The alleged sexual abuse was first reported in 1998 to school officials.

Court documents claim Alejandro Martinez raped a boy in fall 1995 while babysitting when he was 15.

When questioned by a Benton County sheriff’s detective, the suspect admitted in writing to the incident, documents show.

Eduardo Martinez’s contact with that boy and another one happened at separate times between August 1995 and January 1996 when he was 14.

The brothers left the area before they could be arrested.

The recent trial last seven days. Jurors deliberated for just under seven hours, and informed the judge they could not agree on a verdict.

Judge Jackie Shea Brown declared the mistrial.

Eduardo Martinez remains in the Benton County jail on $150,000 bail. His older brother’s bail is set at $5,000.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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