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Immigration violator convicted of kidnapping, sexual assault of two Oregon women

December 4, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Immigration violator convicted of kidnapping, sexual assault of two Oregon women

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Man previously deported 20 times convicted in the kidnapping and sexual assault of two women

An immigration violator who was deported from the United States 20 times has been found guilty of 10 counts, which includes charges of sexual assault in Oregon.

On Friday, 31-year-old Mexican national Sergio Jose Martinez was sentenced to 35 years behind bars after pleading guilty to kidnapping, sexual assault, sodomy and several other charges.

Martinez grinned throughout the trial, and as he left, he gave one smile parting shot to his two victims’ family members: “See you guys in Hell.”

The first assault took place in the early morning hours of July 24, when Martinez went into the Portland home of a 65-year-old woman through a window she had left open to cool down the house.

Swinging a metal rod, Martinez told the woman to get on the ground, where he tied up and blindfolded her, threatened to kill her, and then sexually assaulted her, KOIN reported.

Sergio Jose Martinez, July 25, 2017 (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

He took the woman’s purse and vehicle; she called authorities from a neighbor’s house, who located and tracked the vehicle.

While they surveilled the car, Martinez was pursuing his second victim in a garage.

He went up to her with a knife and made her get back into her car; as he got in after her she tried to escape, but he grabbed her and slammed her head into the ground.

The woman shouted out for help, and as bystanders approached, Martinez tried to steal her vehicle, but then ran on foot when he couldn’t start the car. Authorities apprehended him minutes later.

On Friday, two family members, and one of the sexual assaault victims spoke during the sentencing phase, in which Martinez often smiled.

One victim’s brother told Martinez: “No sentencing is enough. I rather you rot in Hell.”

Under the deal that spared Martinez a possibly longer sentence if he had been convicted at trial, he pleaded guilty to 10 counts, on charges that include burglary, sodomy, sex abuse, kidnapping, and robbery.

Martinez’s attorney, Jonathan Sarre, said his client “suffers from mental illnesses; such people may do inappropriate things in situations.”

However, he admitted that a doctor had deemed Martinez competent to go to trial.

Martinez had been released from jail in Portland a week before the attacks; he was behind bars for interfering with authorities and providing a false birth date.

Sergio Jose Martinez smiling in court on Friday. KOIN-TV image

He was released despite an order from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office to keep him in custody so the agency could arrest him.

Oregon became the U.S.’ first sanctuary state when it approved a law in 1987 limiting police from detaining people who are illegally in the U.S. but have not broken other laws.

Sheriff Michael Reese said he could not legally hold Martinez on the federal agency’s request, but if ICE had sent a criminal detention warrant issued by a judge, he could have remained in custody longer.

“He was released consistent with the orders of the court. No warrants were present at the time,” he said.

However, he added that Martinez had been deported before “and has committed additional crimes. It would help our community to understand how he was held accountable by authorities for multiple, illegal re-entries” Reese added.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions emphasized Martinez’s case when he went to Oregon in September and urged local authorities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents to review those policies.

Martinez is not eligible for early release because of a 1994 ballot initiative passed by voters that sets up mandatory minimum sentences for particular crimes.

After 35 years, ICE would be able to arrest if they monitor his release date. By then, the man will be 66 years old.

ICE spokesperson Lori Haley said that the agency wants Martinez transferred to its custody when he finishes his sentence for deportation.

Just a day before Martinez’s conviction, another man who had been deported multiple times for being in the U.S. illegally, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, was found not guilty by a jury in San Francisco in the fatal shooting of a woman.

“After Zarate got acquitted, Martinez is now the boogeyman of the face of immigration,” Sarre stated.

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