Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2014

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Woman sentenced in toddler boy’s fatal beating with hammer

A Las Vegas woman was sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison for her role in the 2007 death of her live-in boyfriend's toddler son, who authorities allege was beaten to death by his father with a hammer.

Brandi Reeves, 24, in November pleaded guilty to child abuse and neglect with substantial bodily harm in the death of 2-year-old Zander Martino. Prosecutors said Reeves knew the boy's father, Richard Martino, was abusive and didn't report the abuse to authorities.

Reeves was sentenced to a maximum of 12 1/2 years in prison, with parole eligibility after five years. She has been in the Clark County Detention Center since July 2007 and was awarded more than two years of credit for time served.

Reeves was initially charged with second-degree murder. As part of her plea agreement, she agreed to testify at Martino's trial, which is set for November in front of District Court Judge David Wall.

Court records indicate Reeves called paramedics after finding Zander unresponsive on July 10, 2007. Emergency response personnel told police they believed the boy had been dead for at least six hours. Records indicate a Child Protective Services worker interviewed one of the other children in the home and asked if the girl knew how the boy was injured. The report said the child responded, “Dad hit Zander with a hammer last night.”

An autopsy revealed the toddler had suffered a series of “trauma-related” injuries, including bruising to the abdomen, a belly full of blood and lacerations and hemorrhages, records indicate.

Martino, who is being held without bail, is charged with murder in the boy's death.

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