He could go from death row to free man. Or he could be tried again for killing his wife two decades ago.
Former State Trooper George Martin was in Mobile County Circuit Court Monday as his attorney argued that capital murder charges against his client be dismissed.
“He’s not guilty,” said Los Angeles-based attorney John Sharer. “Documents and materials were withheld that were exculpatory.”
33-year-old Hammoleketh Martin’s body and burned out car we
re found near I-10 in Theodore in 1995.
Five years later, her husband, George Martin, was convicted of the crime.
Ruling the defense did not turn over all evidence and witness statements, the court threw out Martin’s conviction in 2013. An Appeals Court upheld that ruling last year. Martin was released on bond this spring and a new trial was set for January.
Tommy Calhoun investigated the case twenty years ago. Today the retired police major testified that no credible witness statements were ever withheld from the defense.
In 2000, it took a jury just 15 minutes to convict Martin. Judge Ferrell McRae overruled the recommendation of life in prison and sentenced him to death, the defense argues for political reasons.
Some of the key participants in the 2000 trial, including investigators and witness, are now deceased. That’s something Sharer says could make it tougher to get a conviction if Martin is re-tried.
“Trying to re-create something that happened twenty years ago, it’s a lot easier to re-create something that happened yesterday,” he said. “I mean it stands to reason. It’s common sense that there are issues with people’s memories, people dying.”
As was the case in 2000, the State Attorney General’s Office is handling the prosecution.
Hammoleketh’s parents, who have now been without their daughter for two decades, were in court Monday, but had no comment.