By Ed Runyan
David Martin, 29, of Cleveland, charged with aggravated murder that could bring the death penalty, told two deputy U.S. marshals in 2012 that he “can accept the needle” for what he did to Jeremy Cole and Melissa Putnam on Sept. 27 in Warren.
Deputy marshal Bill Bolden testified Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, in a hearing to determine whether the statements Martin made to Bolden are admissible at trial. Judge Andrew Logan will rule later.
Bolden was among eight law-enforcement officers who went to an address in Tallmadge on Oct. 12, 2012, finding Martin there and arresting him on a warrant charging him with the murder of Cole, 21, and the wounding of Putnam, 29, at a house on Oak Street Southwest.
They found a handgun near Martin, and he admitted it belonged to him, not the other man in the apartment, Bolden said — adding that Martin made the remarks without Bolden asking him a single question and before he recited Martin’s rights.
The officers drove Martin to the Summit County Jail and later to Trumbull County, and Martin spoke freely about the crime on Oak Street during the ride, Bolden said.
“He was engaging us in conversation,” Bolden said, recalling Martin saying: “I did what I had to do. I can accept the needle. I’m the triggerman. You got the gun. I’m hit. I’ve got no reason to lie.”
The “needle” could be interpreted as the death penalty, since Ohio uses lethal injection of deadly drugs into the veins of inmates sentenced to die.
Bolden said he later recited Martin’s rights to him, but Martin still talked to Bolden and the other deputy marshal about Putnam, how reports in local news media about the case were false, and then talked a lot about his own mother.
“He said his mom was a homicide victim, and the police did nothing about it. He said he allowed Melissa Putnam to live because of what happened to his mom,” and because he didn’t want Putnam’s children to be without a mother, Bolden said.
Putnam told The Vindicator in 2012 that Martin came into her house to rob her but ended up killing her “best friend,” Jeremy Cole, and shot her in the back of the head.
Putnam showed a Vindicator reporter injuries to the back of her head and her hand, which she said resulted when she put her hand behind her head just as Martin fired at her. Doctors later removed the bullet and kept Putnam in the hospital four days.
Bolden testified that Martin asked him at a later point: “You want me to show you where I burned the clothes that night?”
Bolden agreed, and they drove to the bridge over West Market Street known as “Raider Path,” and Martin directed him to the place near the railroad tracks where he said the burned items, including his watch, could be found.
After seeing such a pile, including part of a watch, Bolden notified Warren police to come collect the evidence, and he took Martin to the Warren police station to talk to detectives.
Martin was sentenced to 22 years in prison last October in federal court for attempting to sell a firearm to undercover law-enforcement officers during the “Little D-Town” investigation in September 2012. That investigation produced 55 federal indictments and 42 indictments through the county common pleas court associated with drug dealing and illegal gun sales.