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Judges ruling critical of DA as accused killer gets new trial

Ruling ends controversial hearing

SAN ANTONIO – In a five-page ruling issued late Tuesday, Senior Judge W..C. Kirkendall ruled that Miguel Martinez must get a new trial.

He is accused of killing Laura Cater, 33, in a drug-related murder in 2015.

His trial had just begun in early February when his attorneys asked for, and were granted, a mistrial. They claimed that prosecutors withheld evidence to which they felt they were entitled.

RELATED: Court motion alleges DA LaHood of making threats against defense attorney

During a hearing that followed the mistrial declaration they argued that to try Martinez, 29, again would constitute double jeopardy.

Kirkendall’s ruling denies that claim.

“The real winner in this case is Laura Carter’s family,” District Attorney Nicholas “Nico” La Hood said upon learning of Kirkendall’s ruling. “We’re finally going to proceed to trial.”

CONTINUING COVERAGE: La Hood angry over accusations of 'official oppression'

Martinez’ attorney Joe Gonzalez expressed disappointment in the ruling.

“While the decision handed down yesterday was not the ruling we were hoping for, we were well aware that we had an uphill climb in order to prevail on the issue of double jeopardy,” Gonzalez said in a written statement.

The ruling also addressed threats Gonzalez claimed La Hood made during a meeting in the trial judge’s chambers.

REPORTER DEBRIEF: Reporter Paul Venema talks about big win for DA Nico LaHood

The ruling describes them as “rants” and “unprofessional and uncalled for which could subject him to possible sanctions.”

La Hood has denied making threats.

“I stand by my original position that I did not threaten Mr. Gonzalez,” La Hood said Wednesday. “But I do admit that I lost my temper when I was faced with false and baseless accusations of prosecutorial misconduct.”

READ MORE: Judge testifies DA Nico LaHood threatened defense attorney

No trial date has been set for Martinez’ new trial.

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