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Sexual assault charge stands in case involving attack on teacher

A judge on Monday declined to dismiss a sexual assault charge against a 16-year-old student accused of attacking an Eldorado High School teacher.

Public defenders for Jonathan Martinez Garcia have argued in court documents that prosecutors only presented enough evidence to a grand jury to charge the teenager with attempted sexual assault in connection with the April 7 attack.

During a court hearing on Monday, District Judge Kathleen Delaney said she agreed with Chief Deputy District Attorney William Rowles’ argument that the evidence in the case and the defendant’s statements amounted to enough “slight or marginal evidence” to charge him with sexual assault.

Delaney also denied a petition from public defenders Tyler Gaston and Jennifer Smith asking the judge to dismiss the kidnapping charge, to dismiss a deadly weapon enhancement on an attempted murder count, and to charge the defendant with just one count each of attempted murder and battery by strangulation with intent to commit sexual assault.

“The court is ultimately persuaded by the arguments of the state that each and every count as charged will stand,” the judge said.

Martinez Garcia was indicted in August on 10 felony counts in connection with the attack — first-degree kidnapping resulting in substantial bodily harm, two counts of battery by strangulation with the intent to commit sexual assault, battery with the intent to commit sexual assault resulting in substantial bodily harm, two counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault and robbery.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Las Vegas police have said that Martinez Garcia attacked the teacher when he went to her classroom to discuss his grades. According to his arrest report, Martinez Garcia choked the teacher with a “rope or string,” knocked her unconscious and moved a shelf on top of her before sitting on it.

The teen initially told police that he blacked out and did not remember the attack, but he later said he remembered trying to choke the teacher.

He also told police, “I think I forced myself onto her,” and “I raped her,” according to his arrest report.

Martinez Garcia remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Monday with a $100,000 bail. A jury trial in the case is scheduled for February.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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