A jury Thursday acquitted a former Manitou Springs police officer who’d been accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend, a Colorado Springs police officer.
A nine-woman, three-man jury took about three hours to find Jarrott Paul Martinez not guilty of second-degree assault, intimidating a witness, false imprisonment and violating a restraining order in the June 9 incident involving Sydney Rose Huffman in a parking lot at 5430 E. Woodmen Ave.
Martinez hugged his defense attorney Daniel Deters moments after Fourth Judicial District Judge David L. Shakes read the verdict.
“It’s a very gratifying victory to know that the defense evidence, such as it was, exonerated Mr. Martinez,” Deters said.
Prosecutors claimed that Martinez, 30, tried to talk Huffman out of testifying against him in a pending case. Huffman testified that she agreed out of fear for her safety, but as she tried to get out of the cab of his pickup, his grabbed her by the throat and squeezed until she blacked out.
The prosecution’s case, however, was complicated by the fact that Colorado Springs police later discovered that part of Huffman’s original account was not true.
Initially, Huffman, 24, told a detective that Martinez had come up behind her car in his pickup and forced her to pull into the parking lot. Later police determined that they had agreed to meet there.
Deputy District Attorney Mike Fisher told the jury that Huffman was experiencing an internal “tug of war” over the incident, something not uncommon in domestic violence incidents.
“She doesn’t want people to know what happened to her,” Fisher said in his closing argument. “She doesn’t even want you to know.”
But he urged the jury to focus on the physical evidence, particularly a photograph taken after she went to the hospital the next day with bruises on her neck.
Fisher cited the testimony of one nurse who said in her opinion, “she (Huffman) could have died from what happened to her.”
Deters told the jury his client was not in the parking lot that night and that the incident never happened.
Deters argued that Huffman’s roommate at that time remembered her being in the house until about 11 p.m. that night, which would have been after the alleged assault occurred.
He also cited a security videotape that police later found that showed Martinez at the Chapel Hills Mall that day with his fiancée.
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