The man who raped and strangled 16-year-old Brittany Binger left a wealth of DNA evidence at the scene. He attacked her on a long-ago winter night as she walked beside a country road called Pocahontas Trail. Authorities found his semen in the victim and slivers of his scratched-off skin under her fingernails.

When police arrived, they saw a 20-ounce juice bottle, three-quarters full of Minute Maid Strawberry Passion, standing upright 12 feet from Brittany’s body, suggesting that the killer had carefully set it on the pavement before grabbing the girl. Detectives traced the lot number on the label to a nearby Miller Mart. And security video recorded at the convenience store around the time of the killing shows a day laborer named Oswaldo Martinez buying just such a drink, investigators said.

Seven weeks later, on Feb. 18, 2005, detectives in James City County clapped handcuffs on Martinez, then 33, a Salvadoran immigrant who had been in the United States illegally for months. After DNA tests confirmed that the semen and torn pieces of skin were his, police said, he was charged with capital murder.

“A slam dunk,” recalled one detective. “That’s what we thought.”

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