Opening statements begin in trial for man accused in brutal 2012 murders of woman, child

Bryan Clay appears Tuesday, October 31, 2017, at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. (Justin Michel/KSNV)

Opening arguments are made in the trial of a man suspected in the rape and murders of a mother and her 10-year-old daughter more than five years ago.

Bryan Clay, 27, faces the death penalty for the April 15, 2012, rape and killings of Yadira Martinez and her 10-year-old daughter, Karla. Arturo Martinez, Yadira’s husband and Karla’s father, was savagely beaten in the head with a hammer.

“He was so damaged by this that he was literally non-verbal and in the hospital for weeks,” said prosecutor Pam Weckerly.

RELATED | Trial set to begin for suspect in brutal murder of mother and 10-year-old daughter

Prosecutors say within days of the murders, Clay's DNA was matched to the crime scene and to a sexual assault of another woman the same night, in the same neighborhood.

Defense attorney Tony Sgro, however, says there are problems with the state's case.

“Once they heard about the science, they began to shore up the case,” he said.

Sgro says the Martinez family had been feuding with their next-door neighbors for two years over parking issues. There were allegations of slashed tires and loud arguments, but possible suspects were quickly ruled out.

RELATED | Martinez forgives man who murdered his family three years ago

He also says DNA samples were contaminated and mislabeled and asked jurors to keep an open mind.

“There were no bloodily clothes ever located that tie Mr. Clay to these events,” he said. “None of Bryan's blood was ever in the home.”

The trial continues Wednesday.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off