New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | February 24, 2024

North Carolina man found guilty of committing crimes against New Kent minor

By Robb Johnson | February 11, 2024 3:47 pm

Warning: This story may contain content unsuitable for some readers.

A North Carolina man has been convicted of committing several crimes against a minor following a two-day jury trial in New Kent.

Jose Joan Martinez Marmolejo, 27, of Fayetteville, was found guilty of sexual intercourse with a minor, two counts of possession of child pornography, two counts of proposing to have sex with a minor under the age of 15, sodomy, having indecent liberties with a minor, abduction, six counts of reproducing child pornography, sodomy with kidnapping of a victim 13 years or younger, and abduction with intent to defile. One charge of sexual penetration with an object and aggravated sexual battery of a minor were dismissed, while he was found not guilty on additional charges of producing child pornography, possession of child pornography, and abduction of a minor with intent to manufacture pornography.

In January 2022, Marmolejo had started having conversations with the victim through an online application. The conversations were generic at first, but a meet-up was arranged with the conversations becoming more sexual in nature.

On Feb. 25, 2022, Marmolejo left North Carolina and went to the old Circle K just off Exit 220 in New Kent County at 1:45 a.m. After fueling up his vehicle, he attempted to try to contact the victim. When the victim didn’t respond, Marmolejo got a room at the Washington Burgess Inn in northern New Kent. Later that morning, the victim sent Marmolejo their location, with an expected meet up time between 6:50-7 a.m.

According to testimony from the victim’s mother, she allowed her child to sleep in due to it being a Saturday morning. Around 9-9:30 a.m., she discovered the victim was missing and immediately contacted New Kent Sheriff’s Office. Along with assistance from the state police, a K-9 unit was able to pick up the scent of the victim, which ended at the main road.

Around the same time, Marmolejo had driven the victim to 7-Eleven where they sat in the car. The defendant provided $20 to the victim to allow them to purchase snacks and a gift card.

According to the victim’s testimony, they had originally thought they were going to hang out in the hotel. Police were able to find the victim after knocking on the door at the inn. It took a while for the door to be answered by Marmolejo, but when the door was open, they were able to locate the child in the bathroom wearing only a t-shirt.

The victim told police and a forensic nurse that nothing had taken place, with DNA testing not being able to prove that a sexual assault had taken place. The scent of the K-9 along with the defendant having the victim provided enough evidence to warrant Marmolejo’s arrest.

In an interview in the interrogation room, Marmolejo admitted that he and the victim had sex multiple times, including oral sex. While these acts were taking place, inappropriate videos were taken of the victim.

After getting a search warrant, investigators were able to find the videos featuring the victim. Along with that, there were additional inappropriate videos of children discovered on Marmolejo’s phone.

The victim testified, saying that they did not want to tell the truth about the relations because they were scared. And while the defense argued that neither the face of the victim or Marmolejo could be seen in the videos, the figure and description of the defendant along with the victim’s face being partially showed provided evidence of the possible acts.

The victim continued to testify, informing the police and the forensic nurse that nothing had happened other than kissing and Marmolejo touching their leg. And while DNA evidence could not rule out the defendant as the individual in the video, the victim seemed distressed watching the videos of the events. The victim reiterated that they kept implying that they were scared if they told the truth, and also told Marmolejo on multiple occasions that they were underage.

The victim’s phone provided more incriminating evidence, as inappropriate material had been sent from Marmolejo to the phone, including multiple pictures and videos containing a child’s acts. One of the acts possibly included a video of the suspect and the victim.

The jury took two hours to deliberate, rendering 15 guilty verdicts against Marmolejo. The seriousness of the charges could result in the defendant serving a life sentence.

Sentencing for Marmolejo is scheduled for May 6.