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Prosecutors to seek death penalty against Oklahoma City man accused of raping, strangling neighbor

Dartangan D. Cotton, 22, of Oklahoma City, lived two doors away from Paula Martin, 56, who was found rolled up in a blanket with her hands bound. Police said the defendant hid in Martin's attic
by Tim Willert Published: September 20, 2012

Prosecutors said Wednesday they will seek the death penalty against a man accused of raping and strangling a neighbor and then hiding in her attic.

Dartangan Darnell Cotton, 21, of Oklahoma City, is charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 6, 2011, death of Paula Martin, 56.

At Cotton's preliminary hearing Wednesday, an Oklahoma City police lieutenant testified about finding Martin inside a bedroom rolled up in a blanket with her hands bound behind her back.

Lt. William Patten said Martin's body had been partially stuffed under a bed and hidden with a mattress.

“It was obvious that she was deceased,” Patten said.

Martin died from traumatic asphyxiation, according to a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office.

Oklahoma City police officers found Cotton inside Martin's home at 524 SW 48 when he fell from the attic through the living room ceiling.

Patten testified about checking the residence when he heard a crash and saw a man's legs dangling from the ceiling.

Officers pulled the man from the ceiling when he ignored their commands to come down, Patten said.

A judge is expected to decide Thursday whether there is enough evidence to order Cotton to face trial in the slaying.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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