2d suspect held in Brookline rape case

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Correspondent / August 23, 2009

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BROOKLINE - It was “grunt detective work’’ that quickly brought down the two suspects in a rape in the popular Coolidge Corner neighborhood, police said.

Brookline police arrested Ismael Martinez, 26, of Waltham late Friday night, the second suspect in the early-morning attack Tuesday on a 30-year-old Brookline woman. He joined Jose Arita, 25, who was arrested Thursday.

The victim, returning from Logan International Airport, had been dropped off by taxi at the corner of Harvard and Beacon streets at about 2:20. As she was walking with her luggage, two men hit her in the head from behind, choked her, and put her into a red pickup truck parked on a side street. The truck sped off, but was caught on police surveillance cameras.

The two suspects face charges of assault with intent to rape, aggravated rape, and kidnapping. Martinez faces an added charge of misleading police during a criminal investigation, but authorities did not elaborate on that charge.

During a news conference yesterday afternoon, Brookline police Lieutenant Philip Harrington praised the work of detectives who worked without rest since the attack, he said.

“It was through old-fashioned good detective work and follow-up investigation that led to the arrest of Mr. Martinez,’’ Harrington said. “It’s an example of the quality of officers we have in this department. . . . The whole department gave a great effort to solving this case.’’

Harrington said that the suspects knew each other and worked together as freelance plasterers. Both suspects are believed to be living in the United States illegally - Arita from Guatemala and Martinez from Mexico. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is involved in the cases of both suspects, police said.

Arita pleaded not guilty in Brookline District Court and is being held on $150,000 bail. Martinez is being held without bail pending his arraignment tomorrow.

The Globe’s policy is not to name victims of sexual assault, and police did not release her name.

The attack stunned Brookline, which traditionally has very low rates of violent crime, according to FBI statistics. Tuesday’s attack was the first rape of 2009 in Brookline. There were eight reported rapes in Brookline last year, up from two reported cases in 2007. There hasn’t been a murder in Brookline since 2006.

“I felt completely safe; I felt fine walking around here,’’ resident Alison Brayton, 22, told the Globe last week. “Not anymore.’’

Harrington said he hopes residents will feel safer now that both suspects are in custody.

“With this second arrest, I hope we’ve allayed people’s fears,’’ Harrington said. “I hope that there’s a sigh of relief.’’

Still, Harrington urges people to be aware of their surroundings, especially at night - a message his department plans to amplify next month when thousands of college students return.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at