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Springdale man given 40-year sentence in rape of boy

by Tracy Neal | July 15, 2021 at 3:08 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- A Springdale man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday for raping an 8-year-old boy.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning with the guilty verdict for Elmer Martinez-De Lao. Jurors then deliberated for another hour before recommending 40 years in prison.

Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green sentenced Martinez-De Lao, 55, to the term in the Arkansas Department of Correction.

He was arrested Nov. 7, 2019.

A 10-year-old boy testified Tuesday during the trial that Martinez-De Lao touched him in the wrong spot.

"Where did he touch you?" asked deputy prosecutor Tim McDonald.

The boy responded, then said, "It made me feel uncomfortable and not safe around him."

The boy said the abuse happened at Martinez-De Lao's home.

Martinez-De Lao also is charged with sexual assault involving a girl. He is awaiting trial in that case.

The boy's mother testified that Martinez-De Lao is the husband of one of her friends. She said Martinez-De Lao would always be around with her son and that he often played with the boy.

Ben Catterlin, Martinez-De Lao's attorney, said in his closing arguments that a medical examination didn't find any injuries on the boy.

Catterlin told jurors that the boy's testimony was inconsistent on whether there was any penetration from the abuse. He told the jurors that they weren't there to convict his client of touching the boy, but to decide whether Martinez-De Lao raped him.

"Is there enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was raped?" Catterlin asked.

Catterlin said the boy's testimony didn't give a definite answer.

McDonald told jurors that they could use their common sense and life experiences to reach a decision.

Martinez-De Lao will have to serve 28 years in prison before he's eligible for parole.

A status hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. Aug. 16 in the sexual assault case involving the girl.

Print Headline: Springdale man given 40-year sentence in rape of boy

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