Tina Martin: It was a little more than “harassing witnesses”
JACKSON CO.—It was official as of yesterday—Tina Martin, ex-wife of ex-Gallatin County sheriff Raymond Martin, is a convicted felon.
However, because of a plea deal, set forth no doubt because Jackson County prosecutor Mike Wepseic is more or less a lame duck (he announced earlier this year that he would be retiring and not seeking another term), she’s only going to be experiencing a little punishment for her Class 2 felony conviction of Harassment of Witnesses, as opposed to four Class X counts of Solicitation to Commit Murder for Hire, which were dropped in exchange for the plea.
Not that there was much doubt that what Tina did was exactly what the charges that were originally filed against her in 2010 claimed. Anyone who sat through the entire Raymond Martin federal case in September 2010 would know that. But Wepsiec, of course, did not.
Yesterday, Sept. 26, Tina entered a plea to the reduced count of Harassment, wherein it’s claimed that she took part in “harassing” the two key witnesses in Raymond Martin’s federal case—Jeremy Potts and David Woods, both of Gallatin County–whom her husband at the time was attempting to have killed. Martin tried to secure the services of two rather innocuous detainees at the Murphysboro jail (Jackson County, where the action took place, and which is why the charges are there instead of in Gallatin), where he was being held pending the federal case, and offered to pay them to kill both Potts and Woods so that their direct testimony wouldn’t be presented at his trial. He was charged with using a weapon in the commission of a drug crime as well as numerous pot delivery charges initially; but when the news broke that he had spent literally months trying to effect these “hits” from behind bars, he was also charged—along with his then-wife Tina and his son, Cody—with Solicitation to Commit Murder for Hire, four counts (two separate counts per person).
Tina and Cody were able to bond out of the Jackson County jail on their charges; Raymondo couldn’t, and he remained until his federal case.
There, everyone who stayed for the two-week ordeal heard Tina talking to Raymond about actually getting Potts and Woods killed; how Tina was searching for photos of the victims so that the purported hit men could make sure they were getting the right person; and how they giggled over a man who committed suicide in front of the motel in Shawneetown who “might’ve” been one of their intended victims, they were just waiting on a name to come across the news stations.
In other words, Tina was right there in the mix of it. But because the feds got their man, and never charged Tina with a federal crime in connection with him, she just didn’t quite pique their interest. And because of that, her case languished in state court in Jackson County, with endless continuances prompted by one side or another (primarily due to her attorney, Paul Christenson, having a stroke and being unable to continue in the case.)
But, armed with a new attorney (Mark Costa), she was able to wrangle a plea agreement as long ago as two months. She was mouthy about it, telling anyone who’d listen that she was only going to have to spend a few months in the local jail, and would be out in time for Christmas.
Locals, knowing that Raymond was sitting in a federal pen for ostensibly the rest of his life (ostensibly because just a few weeks ago, the federal appeals court overturned his sentence, stating that the federal judge couldn’t sentence him to life for the weapons in commission of a drug crime count), were understandably outraged over what they were hearing from Tina’s family and friends. However, they held out hope that maybe it was more “big talk” from the woman who apparently believed for so long that she was untouchable, even after her ex-husband was imprisoned for his crimes.
That hope was dashed when it was made official yesterday: 180 days in local lockup, a $25,000 fine (conveniently, the amount of her bail), 250 hours of community service, and four years probation upon completion of her sentence, during which time she must be good and not commit any infractions of the law.
According to those in Gallatin who’ve kept an eye on her, Tina has, however, for the past two years continued to violate the terms of her bail bond, including not reporting where she was residing (she’s had a series of sugar daddies, if locals are to be believed) and a host of other occurrences that would’ve had anyone else tossed back into the pokey. Therefore, not many are hopeful that anyone’s going to keep an eye on her during the probationary period of four years to see to it that she’s going to “be good.” In fact, if the locals are to be believed, Tina, who apparently knows a LOT more than what she’s openly telling, could probably get away with murder and would likely escape unscathed…after all, Solicitation to Commit Murder isn’t so far removed.
This is evidenced by Wepsiec’s somewhat happydappysappy report to the Southern Illinoisan this morning:
“The person who did the soliciting was the former sheriff (Raymond Martin),” Wepsiec said. “She was kind of a conduit of the offer, certainly not as culpable as her former husband. Additionally, after approximately two years of continuances, there were, I won’t say major evidentiary problems, but there would have been some obstacles we would have had to overcome.”
Geez. All he’d have had to do was listen to all the phone calls played during the federal trial…and all that horrible Bonnie Tyler ringtone (“Total Eclipse of the Heart”)…and there probably wouldn’t have been any evidentiary concerns. Way to go, Mike. You’ve certainly left a legacy.
Tina was jailed as soon as the hearing was over yesterday, and will remain there for roughly less than half of the sentence, as she’s getting credit for 26 days time served early on in the matter (January 2010) and of course gets day-for-day “good time” credit (this is assuming she’s going to BE good while she’s in lockup). In other words, she’ll be out in time for Christmas with the fam.
Kind of an anti-climactic ending to the drama that gripped southern Illinois starting May 18, 2009, and continued to the bitter end (sort of, as it’s not really over…yet).
More as we get it…keep checking back.
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