By Ed Runyan
Melissa Putnam said David Martin came to her house to rob her Sept. 27, but killed her “best friend” Jeremy Cole — and shot her in the back of the head.
Martin, 28, who gave a Cleveland address to Judge Terry Ivanchak during his arraignment Wednesday in Warren Municipal Court, is charged with murder and is being held in the Trumbull County jail in lieu of a $1.5 million bond. Officers with the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitives Task Force arrested Martin at a home in Tallmadge on Tuesday morning.
Judge Ivanchak entered an innocent plea for Martin to the murder charge.
Putnam, 29, who was among a dozen or so Putnam and Cole relatives and friends who attended Martin’s video arraignment, showed reporters the injuries to her head and hand.
She said Martin, who lived on Oak Circle, a short distance from Putnam’s Oak Street Southwest home, first ordered her to tie Cole up and then told her to find the keys to Cole’s car. Putnam said she looked for the keys but couldn’t find them.
Martin then took Putnam into a bedroom and tied her up.
After Martin returned to the room where Cole was, she heard Cole gasping for air and then Cole say, “I’ve been shot. Melissa, get out.”
Putnam said she was on her stomach, but just as Martin stood over her with a gun pointed at the back of her head, she was able to get one hand loose from the bindings and put it behind her head.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry, Missy,’ and he shot me in my ... head.” The bullet passed through her hand and lodged in the back of her head.
Doctors later removed the bullet and kept Putnam in the hospital for four days, she said.
Cole, 21, who relatives say lived in the Stonegate Apartments on Robert Avenue Northwest, had come to Putnam’s house to give her a ride to a job, Putnam said.
“My best friend happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Putnam said. “He was only there to give me a ride to a job. He was my best friend. It shouldn’t have happened.”
Cole’s mother, Wanda Cole of Warren, said she doesn’t believe her son knew Martin.
“I never thought I’d have to bury one of my children before me,” she said, adding that Jeremy had been in trouble with the law several times but was “trying to turn his life around,” went to employment agencies every day and was planning to go to college.
Police say they found Putnam in the road on Oak Circle when they arrived. Cole was inside Putnam’s home.