Las Vegas Sun

November 22, 2017

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Trial set for man accused of beating toddler with hammer

The trial of a Las Vegas man accused of beating his toddler son to death with a hammer in 2007 has been reset.

Richard Martino is accused of murder in the death of 2-year-old Zander Martino, who was found unresponsive by his live-in girlfriend, Brandi Reeves, on July 10, 2007.

Reeves in November pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse and neglect with substantial bodily injury in Zander’s death. She had initially been charged with second-degree murder.

Reeves is expected to testify at Martino’s trial, which is now set for Nov. 29. It was scheduled to begin next week but Martino’s former attorney recently took a job with the attorney general’s office and his new attorney on Monday told District Court Judge David Wall he needed additional time to prepare.

Records indicate authorities responded to the home Reeves and Martino shared with three children and found one of the children, Zander, to be unresponsive. Responding paramedics told police they believed the boy had been dead for six to eight hours before they arrived at the house.

At the time of Martino’s and Reeves’ arrests, a Child Protective Services worker interviewed one of Martino’s other children and asked if the girl knew how Zander got his “owies.” An arrest report indicates that the child responded, “Dad hit Zander with a hammer last night,” and said the hammer was in the back yard.

The girl also told the CPS worker that Zander had an injury on his stomach.

An autopsy revealed that the toddler had suffered a series of “trauma-related” injuries, including bruising to the abdomen, a belly full of blood and lacerations and hemorrhages.

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