CALDWELL, Idaho — A southwest Idaho judge has rejected a request to move the trial of a man charged with killing his girlfriend and burying her in a cornfield.
Third District Judge Molly J. Huskey on Monday declined Alfredo Martinez's request to move the trial out of Caldwell due to local news coverage.
Martinez is charged with second-degree murder, destruction of evidence and failure to notify authorities about a death. He has pleaded not guilty, and is being held in the Canyon County.
Police say Martinez in August hit 36-year-old Selena Thomas with a metal hammer and shoved her into a dresser when she stepped toward him. Court documents say Martinez panicked and put her body in a closet, then buried it in a cornfield south of Melba with the help of friends.
The Idaho Press-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1IotsaB) that Martinez's attorney, Kimberly Simmons, said Martinez has become the "poster child" for a statewide domestic violence registry and that news coverage in Canyon County and neighboring Ada County mean Martinez can't get a fair trial.
Simmons at the hearing noted 15 stories reporting on a confession police say Martinez made, plus emotionally charged statements from Thomas' family.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Madison Hamby argued that questionnaires and interviews would be able to determine if potential jurors had made up their minds.
Huskey in her ruling said the defense could file a similar motion in the future. She also said she'd rather bring a jury to Canyon County rather than have the defendant, attorneys and witnesses have to travel to another county.
Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, http://www.idahopress.com