Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Victim stabbed more than 40 times

Defendant's lawyer says charges 'inappropriate'

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The city's latest homicide was also one of its most savage, Butler County Coroner Richard P. Burkhardt said Tuesday.

        Dr. Burkhardt ruled that the victim, Tracey Jean Roark, bled to death Saturday after being stabbed more than 40 times.

        Prominent among them were two slashes that severed major blood vessels in her neck, Dr. Burkhardt said. Her windpipe also was cut, he said.

        Among the more than 6,500 deaths Dr. Burkhardt has investigated in his 20 years as coroner, he said this case stands out as one of the most extreme.

        Middletown lawyer Christopher Pagan questioned whether authorities have enough evidence to convict his client, Martin Delores Rivera-Carrillo, 34, of killing Ms. Roark.

        “I've interviewed him, and based upon that interview I feel that the charges are inappropriate. ... I feel confident that these charges can be beaten,” said Mr. Pagan, who speaks enough Spanish to understand his Mexican-born client.

        He declined to comment further, citing client confidentiality and a need to gather more information at a preliminary hearing set for Friday in Hamilton Municipal Court.

        Mr. Rivera-Carrillo is being held in the Butler County Jail without bond.

        The case came to light Saturday morning, when police say they noticed Mr. Rivera-Carrillo driving a van with its rear door open, revealing a bloody interior.

        Mr. Rivera-Carrillo was also bloody despite having no apparent injuries, police said.

        A couple of hours later, officers found Ms. Roark's body, clad in blue-jean shorts and a Cincinnati Reds T-shirt, behind a trash bin near Pershing Avenue and Seventh Street.

        Ms. Roark, 38, who stood about 5-feet-2 and weighed 110 pounds, had “defensive wounds” on both hands — signs she apparently had tried to fight off her attacker, Dr. Burkhardt said.

        No alcohol was found in the victim's body; other drug test results were not available Tuesday.

        Dr. Burkhardt wouldn't say whether he found signs of sexual assault. Police haven't suggested a motive and haven't said whether they found the weapon.

        The 5-foot-6, 140-pound suspect has been employed doing drywall work. He had no arrest record with city police, who had arrested Ms. Roarke a dozen times in the past four years, mostly for drug, alcohol and prostitution offenses.

        Services for Ms. Roark will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Webb-Noonan Funeral Home, Ross Avenue and D Street. Visitation will be one hour before services.


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