Santa Barbara police have arrested a man for allegedly severely beating a homeless woman, more than a year after the incident occurred.
Samuel Joseph Martinez, 62, was arrested August 10 for torture, battery causing great bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon after new witness information came to light, linking Martinez to the assault, which happened July 22 of last year. On that day, a passerby found the body of a badly beaten and partially nude woman near the Louis Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De la Vina Street.
The victim, a 53-year-old homeless woman, was found with a gag in her mouth and unconscious from heavy blows to her head, upper body, limbs and torso. The blows were sustained “over a substantial period of time,” according to police spokesman Lt. Paul McCaffrey, which is what led to the torture charge. Torture can carry a life sentence, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who filed charges today. Dudley said in her 17 years at the district attorney’s office, she has only seen torture charges filed one other time. Martinez will be arraigned tomorrow.
The victim was in a coma at Cottage Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for several days, when she eventually regained consciousness and was discharged. She is now living out of the county with family.
Police quickly tagged Martinez as a suspect, but were unable to find sufficient evidence against the man to press charges. But after new witness information surfaced, Det. Chad Hunt obtained a warrant and arrested Martinez last Friday. He is currently being held on $500,000 bail.