Monday, September 15, 2008

Victim of domestic violence gets special visa after children killed (Dallas Morning News)

CRIME Blog: Victim of domestic violence gets special visa after children killed

7:30 AM Mon, Sep 15, 2008
Tiara Ellis

One of my co-workers told me about a federal policy that makes it possible for illegal immigrant women to receive special visas to encourage them to go to authorities when they are abused, particularly in cases of domestic violence.

Elia Martinez-Bermudez benefited from this policy. She is the ex-girlfriend of Hector Medina, who is on trial for killing their two children at their Irving home when she left him in 2007. She has also told police that Mr. Medina raped and assaulted her.

The Hector Medina capital murder trial resumes today in the 282nd state district court. He faces the death penalty.

Ms. Martinez-Bermudez testified that she came to Texas from Mexico illegally in 2000. After her children were killed, she received a special visa under the Violence Against Women Act, which helps illegal immigrant women who are victims of abuse come forward. Lalon Peale, one of Mr. Medina's defense attorneys, told state District Judge Andy Chatham outside the jury's presence that Ms. Martinez-Bermudez was about to be deported before this came about.

Mr. Medina, who is a citizen of El Salvador, had been here illegally. But he was able to buy the couple's Irving house after he received temporary protective status because of the wars in El Salvador.

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