Cops Charge Convicted Murderer with '98 Killing of Bronx Girl

By Alan Neuhauser on May 10, 2012 8:37am 

James Martin, 40, was charged Wednesday with the 1998 rape and murder of Marleny Cruz, 14.
James Martin, 40, was charged Wednesday with the 1998 rape and murder of Marleny Cruz, 14.
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BRONX — A man suspected of raping and strangling a 14-year-old girl in a Bronx park was arrested Wednesday — more than a decade after Marleny Cruz's body was found, police said.

James Martin, 40 — who is already serving 22 to 44 years in a Pennsylvania prison for killing his common-law wife in 2005 — was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree rape and a criminal sex act for the Feb. 23, 1998 attack on Marleny, the NYPD announced.  

Cops used DNA evidence to link Martin to Marleny's murder, police said.

In September 2011, Detective Malcolm Reiman of the Bronx Homicide Task Force requested a DNA profile of skin that was found beneath Marleny's fingernails, the NYPD and New York Post reported. Three months later, the results turned up a match to Martin's DNA profile, cops said.

Police discovered the teen's body at 2314 Valentine Ave., the NYPD said. She remained unidentified for nearly six weeks, until dental records led investigators to a name. She lived in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.

Martin has been in and out of prison since 1989 when, at age 17, he reportedly choked a 15-year-old friend to death to steal his Nike Air Jordan sneakers. According to the Post, the sneakers didn't even fit.

Martin was extradited from Somerset Correctional Facility, Pa., to New York on Wednesday.

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