Volume 17 • Issue 23 | Oct. 29 - Nov. 4, 2004

Police Blotter

Car hits pedestrians
A car went out of control at the corner of Rutgers and Henry Sts. at 9:34 a.m. Tues. Oct. 28, jumped a raised area in front of St. Theresa’s Church, tilted on its side, hit a fence and injured at least four people included a pregnant woman who was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, according police and the Rev. Donald Baker, pastor of the church.

The driver and a passenger in the car fled but the driver was apprehended later and was being questioned at the Seventh Precinct at press time, police said.

“We were about to enter the church for a funeral when I heard the noise and turned to see the car plough into people in front of the church,” Rev. Baker said. The most seriously hurt victim was five and a half months pregnant and another woman was removed from under the wheel of the car and taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital but she sustained no broken bones, Rev. Baker said.

DNA finds rape suspect
A suspect in a 1996 sexual assault in a Canal St. subway station was arrested last week after being indicted as a “John Doe” in August 2001 based on a DNA profile. The arrest of David Martinez, who has been in prison since July 8 after violating parole on a robbery conviction, marks the first time in New York State that a suspect has been matched to a John Doe DNA indictment, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau.

On Oct. 31, 1996, three men approached a 20-year-old foreign exchange student who was walking in a passageway to the Uptown No. 6 platform at the Canal St. station and one of them pulled a gun and demanded money, according to the district attorney’s office. The gunman, identified now as Martinez, was about to leave with the victim’s $27 but turned, pushed her against a wall, put the gun to her neck and sexually assaulted her, according to the indictment. As soon as the three suspects fled, the victim reported the crime to police.

The district attorney’s DNA Project presented the case to the grand jury in August 2001 just before the five-year statute of limitations expired and an indictment was handed up with the John Doe identified by the DNA profile obtained at the time of the crime. But there were no matches at that time.

Although Martinez had been serving a prison term for a 1985 Midtown robbery, he was paroled before DNA samples were required to be taken from felons. He was arrested again in July of this year for violating the parole and his DNA profile was taken on July 26. The district attorney was notified of the DNA match on Oct. 12 and Martinez was arrested a short time later in prison.

The district attorney’s office said Martinez would have been automatically released on Jan. 5, 2005 if there was no DNA match. The suspect is charged with first degree attempted rape, robbery and sexual abuse. His arraignment was scheduled for Oct. 29.

Lisa Friel is chief of the district attorney’s DNA Project and Assistant D.A. Melissa Mourges is prosecuting the case.

Police responding to a report of violence at 61 Clinton St. between Rivington and Delancey Sts. at 10:30 a.m. Mon. Oct. 25 found a man and a woman dead. The man, Julio Garcia, is believed to have killed his girlfriend, Maria Tavares, 34, and then committed suicide. The case is still under investigation, police said on Oct. 26.

West St. collision
A car traveling west on Harrison St. entered West St. where it struck a northbound SUV at 11 a.m. Tues. Oct. 26, according to the fire department which responded when the SUV started burning. A 25-year-old woman who was driving the SUV was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital. There was no report or identification about the driver of the car, according to the fire department.

—Albert Amateau

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