Supreme Judical Court Affirms Convictions of Edward Martin for Assault with Intent to Rape a Child; Assault with Intent to Kidnap; and Assault & Battery
District Attorney Michael D. O'Keefe announced today that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has affirmed the conviction of Edward Martin for assault with intent to rape a child; assault with intent to kidnap; and assault and battery all involving a fifteen year old girl in Yarmouth, Massachusetts on July 20, 1994. The charges arose at noontime on July 20, 1994, the fifteen year old victim left the beach in Yarmouth to return to her grandparents' house. As she walked along a dirt road that leads from the beach, she saw a man about ten feet away from her. Shortly thereafter, she was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground on her back. She screamed as the attacker hit her in the face numerous times. He told her to "shut up" and tried to drag her into a bog area that bordered the path. The approach of another person caused the assailant to flee into the bog. The attack lasted approximately three minutes, during which time the victim had a "full frontal view" of her attacker's face. The Yarmouth police responded and found a "shaken and upset" victim with an apparent injury below one eye. After getting a description from the victim of her assailant, the police spent the next four days with the victim driving her around the mid-Cape area looking for the assailant. Finally, on July 25, 2004, the victim's father notified the police that he had found a suspect in Hyannis. The police took the victim to the place where her father had seen the defendant and she identified the defendant as her assailant. He was arrested and charged, but his first trial resulted in a mistrial in June, 1996, because of the defendant's misbehavior in the courtroom. He was found not competent to stand trial until 2001.
On August 15, 2001, a Superior Court jury found the defendant not guilty of assault with intent to murder, but found the defendant guilty of assault with intent to rape a child; assault with intent to kidnap; and assault and battery. He was sentenced to serve nine to ten years in state prison on one charge and ten years probation on the other charges. The Appeals Court overturned the convictions on the grounds that the process by which the victim identified the defendant was unfairly suggestive and therefore violated the defendant's rights under the federal and state constitutions. The District Attorney's office appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court which led to today's decision that reversed the Appeals Court's decision and reinstated the defendant's convictions. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the defendant's constitutional rights were not violated by the manner by which the victim identified the defendant.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Lloyd prosecuted the case at trial. Assistant District Attorney J. Thomas Kirkman briefed and argued the appeals for the Commonwealth.
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