Child abuse charges remain against claw hammer killings suspect

A district judge Tuesday refused to dismiss child abuse charges against Bryan Clay in the beating of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Defense lawyers for Clay, 22, had asked for the dismissal, saying the child abuse charges were being "trumped up" by prosecutors to hang heavier charges on him.

Clay was originally charged with five counts, including two domestic battery charges.

But those charges were replaced by a grand jury indictment in June that charged Clay with two counts of child abuse and neglect and one count of robbery in connection with two assaults on his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend, who was pregnant with his child.

The baby has since been born.

In making his decision, Judge James Bixler said Tuesday if the victim had been 18, the domestic violence charge might have been appropriate, but the victim was a minor, and prosecutors sought the appropriate charge.

Clay's lawyers suggested they would appeal.

Prosecutors have asked for a speedy trial in the case, hoping to gain a conviction that could be used as an aggravating factor against Clay during a potential death penalty hearing in an ongoing murder case against him.

In that case, authorities said Clay, while drunk and high on drugs, sexually assaulted a 50-year-old woman near the intersection of Vegas and Tonopah drives before going to the home at 1016 Robin St.

Once inside, investigators say, Clay used a claw hammer to pummel Arturo Martinez, 39, and sexually assault and beat to death both his wife, Ignacia "Yadira" Martinez, 38, and daughter, Karla Martinez, 10.

Arturo Martinez survived the attack.

The couple's two sons, then 9 and 4 years old, were not attacked.

Clay remained at the Clark County Detention Center without bail on the murder charges.

A trial date has not been set in the child abuse case, but Bixler said he hoped to have it done by January.

The murder case is set for trial July 24.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at or 702-380-1039.