Man facing capital murder trial sentenced to nearly 22 years on federal gun crime

By Ed Runyan


A former Cleveland man awaiting a capital murder trial in the killing of a Warren man a year ago has been sentenced to almost 22 years in prison on a federal gun charge connected to the “Little D-Town” investigation.

David Martin, 29, received a sentence of 262 months — two months short of 22 years — Thursday before Judge John R. Adams of U.S. District Court.

David Toepfer, an assistant U.S. attorney, said Martin’s sentence was automatically elevated because he had three previous convictions on violent felony offenses.

“He’s what in federal court we call an armed career criminal. He was automatically facing a 15-years-to-life prison sentence,” Toepfer said.

Martin was convicted at trial of being a felon in possession of a firearm for delivering a rifle to undercover federal agents Sept. 6 at a fake store agents opened on U.S. Route 422 in Warren called Stinky Pete’s.

The store opened in the spring of 2012, selling clothing and other items, but its true purpose was to buy drugs and weapons as part of the “Little D-Town” investigation that later produced federal indictments against 55 people and Trumbull County indictments naming 42 people.

The investigation was called “Little D-Town” because of the Detroit connection investigators observed in much of Warren’s crime at the time.

The indictments and arrests in the 10-month investigation were revealed in April 2013, but by that time Martin also had been indicted in the Sept. 27 slaying of Jeremy Cole, 21, and attempted murder of Melissa Putnam, 29.

Martin is scheduled to go on trial on those charges in Common Pleas Court Jan. 22. If convicted, he could get the death penalty.

The Cole killing took place about three weeks after agents videotaped Martin possessing a rifle at Stinky Pete’s. Cole was killed at Putnam’s house on Oak Street Southwest.

Martin is accused of entering Putnam’s house, ordering her to tie up Cole and find the keys to Cole’s car, then shooting Cole, who lived on Robert Avenue Northwest in Warren.

Martin then went to another room and shot Putnam in the back of the head, but her hand blocked the shot from penetrating her skull, and she survived.

Federal documents say Martin has numerous identifying marks and tattoos on his body, including some indicating a gang affiliation.

Martin was not allowed to possess a firearm because he had been convicted of felonious assault in in 2009, attempted robbery, drug possession and felon in possession of a firearm in 2007, and aggravated robbery in 2001.

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