Man accused of attacking 2 women in NE Portland now faces 27-count indictment

Article author: 
Maxine Bernstein
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Article date: 
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
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Oregon Issues
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A Multnomah County grand jury has returned a 27-count indictment against Sergio Jose Martinez, who is accused of attacking two women in Northeast Portland last week.

Martinez, described as a "serial immigration violator,'' is accused of sexually assaulting a 65-year-old woman July 24 after entering her Northeast Irving Street apartment through an open window, threatening her with a metal rod, tying her up with scarves and socks, punching her then escaping with her car.

Hours later, he's accused of attacking another woman at knifepoint as she was leaving work and was walking to her car in a parking garage on Northeast Halsey Street. He forced the 37-year-old woman into her car, but she got out, according to police. He then tackled her to the ground and repeatedly bashed her head into the concrete before taking off in her car, deputy district attorney Amity Girt wrote in a probable cause affidavit. "Help, he has a knife...he's threatening to kill me!,'' the woman screamed at the top of her lungs, Girt wrote.

Martinez, 31, is accused of 17 charges stemming from the sexual assault, according to the indictment. He's accused of four counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree sodomy, three counts of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree robbery, and one count each of second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and identity theft in the Irving Street case, according to the indictment.

In connection with the second attack, he's accused of nine more counts, charging him with two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, and one count each of attempted first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle and identity theft.

A final count of first-degree criminal trespass stems from a separate allegation that he unlawfully entered an apartment on Northeast Clackamas Street in Portland as he fled from the second offense. It's also the location where police captured and arrested him. He was found with a bloody, serrated knife with a blade about six inches long, according to court records.

Before he was booked into jail, he was treated for a "meth induced psychosis,'' according to court records.

Martinez is being held on $3.6 million bail in connection with the indictment.

He's scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Martinez has a lengthy criminal record. His immigration status has shined renewed light on conflicting interpretations of immigration enforcement by local and federal authorities.

According to Virginia Kice, of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Martinez is a "serial immigration violator'' who was removed from the country "no less than 13 times since 2008.'' He has a lengthy criminal history that spans three states, including prior convictions for attempted battery, burglary and illegal re-entry to the United States from Mexico.

ICE had lodged an immigration detainer against Martinez when he had been in the Multnomah County jail Dec. 7, according to the agency. The agency requested ICE be notified before his release.

No notification was given when Martinez was released from custody the next day. Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese issued a lengthy statement defending the release. He said the sheriff's office followed Oregon law, which prohibits public agencies from spending money, using equipment or enlisting personnel to enforce federal immigration law.

Reese said federal immigration officials should have sent a criminal arrest warrant signed by a judge to the sheriff's office to detain Martinez. Instead, Reese said, federal immigration officials issued a civil detainer, which he argued can't be used in Oregon.

Yet Kice, the ICE spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the sheriff's statement reflected a "fundamental misunderstanding of the enforcement process.''

"The cases of individuals being sought for removal are almost always handled through an administrative process as opposed to a criminal proceeding,'' Kice said. " The process doesn't involve the issuance of a judicial arrest warrant, neither is there a legal requirement that ICE provide a judicial warrant to law enforcement agencies in order to receive notification about the impending release of a criminal alien.''

Kice said the case shows the importance of recognizing immigration detainers.

"This case underscores yet again why immigration detainers are such a crucial enforcement tool for furthering public safety and why it is highly problematic, and even tragic, when jurisdictions choose to willfully ignore them,'' she said, in a prepared statement.

A Multnomah County grand jury Wednesday returned a 27-count indictment against Sergio Jose Martinez stemming from two assaults in Northeast Portland on July 24. (Aimee Green/The Oregonian )