Defense lawyers for a man facing a possible death penalty in the slaying of a Muslim teenager last year say their client likely suffers intellectual disabilities.
The court filing from lawyers for 23-year-old Darwin Martinez-Torres of Sterling seeks appointment of an expert to evaluate whether he has the mental capacity to face capital punishment.
The Washington Post reports an initial evaluation by a neuropsychologist found Torres suffers from poor memory and impaired judgment, and is functionally illiterate.
Martinez-Torres is charged with capital murder and rape in the 2017 killing of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen. She was attacked while walking back to a mosque with friends ahead of a pre-dawn Ramadan service in northern Virginia.
A judge will hear arguments on the request later this month. The trial is scheduled for January.
Emotions ran high in October at Martinez-Torres' preliminary hearing. Hassanen's father stood on a courtroom bench and lunged at the accused, Martinez-Torres, in a packed courtroom, News4 reported.
"You killed my daughter!" he shouted. Hassanen's mother hurled a shoe at Torres from across the courtroom and screamed "I kill you!"
Outside, about 100 people chanted "Justice for Nabra."