The man accused in the 2011 murder of a 5-year-old boy will have to wait several more months to stand trial on capital murder charges.
Ralph Martinez Jr., 27, is charged in the death of Zachary Dominguez, who died Feb. 20, 2011, at Medical Center Hospital with multiple injuries including bruises, burn marks and open sores.
But the trial, originally scheduled for April 29, has now been moved back for a trial date of Oct. 14.
Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said moving the trial date was agreed upon between the defense attorneys and his office.
Bland said they discussed where the defense was in the case and thought that with the higher standards of review in capital murder cases, it would be wise to delay the start date.
“Based on where the defense was in their preparation, we were concerned that this case may not withstand scrutiny upon appeal or subsequent review unless certain things were done,” Bland said. “And there was insufficient time for the defense to do the things they needed to do.”
Judge James Rush, of the 244th District Court, ordered that the jury panel be qualified Aug. 22 and come in for individual juror interviews Sept. 9.
Bland said the case had to be rescheduled so much further down the road because of the two months it takes to try capital murder cases.
“I want to make sure when we try it, we only try it once,” he said. I didn’t want to take the chance of it having to be retried five to 10 years down the line because everything that should have been done wasn’t done.”
Martinez also is charged with injury to a child.
Kimberly Ann Moore, 29, was also arrested and charged with capital murder and injury to a child in connection with the child’s death. Moore, the boy’s mother, remains in custody and her trial is pending.
Attorneys Maxwell Peck and Ray Keith, employees with the West Texas Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases, are defending Martinez.