Defendant’s vow to grab gun leads to request for cuffs during trial
By Ed Runyan
A prosecutor has asked a judge to require a Cleveland man charged with killing a Warren man and attempting to kill a Warren woman to be restrained with handcuffs during his trial scheduled to begin May 9.
Chris Becker, assistant Trumbull County pro- secutor, filed a motion Tuesday with Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court seeking the unusual step because of a remark David Martin, 29, purportedly made to a corrections officer recently at the Trumbull County jail.
The officer said Martin told the officer after a hearing last month, “When I go to trial, I’m going to grab the first gun I can when I have a chance to. I’m not going to death row.”
Martin could get the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder and at least one of the death-penalty specifications.
In the filing, Becker said a criminal defendant is generally entitled to appear in court without shackles, “as the presumption of innocence may be undermined when the defendant is presented in restraints.”
But he cited case law in which other courts have required a defendant to be shackled to prevent violence or escape.
“The defendant is on trial for a case in which he killed one person and tried to kill another,” the motion says.
“The defendant has confessed to those crimes. The defendant has also been previously convicted of felony offenses of violence. During the course of this case, he was involved in a verbal barrage involving the surviving victim in the courtroom,” the document said.
A report on the incident filed at the jail warns all corrections officers and courthouse security personnel to “use extreme caution when dealing with this mentioned inmate.”
Judge Logan has not ruled on Becker’s request, though earlier he indicated that Martin could appear in civilian clothing during the trial.
Martin, who already received a 22-year federal prison sentence last October for a gun crime he committed in Warren, is accused of killing Jeremy Cole, 21, and nearly killing Melissa Putnam, 27, at a house on Oak Street Southwest on Sept. 27, 2012.
According to testimony at a suppression hearing in February, Martin told a deputy U.S. marshal in October 2012 regarding the Oak Street crimes: “I did what I had to do. I can accept the needle.” Ohio uses lethal injection to execute prisoners on death row.
Court and prison records indicate Martin had been a prisoner at the Trumbull Correctional Institute during part of a five-year prison term for a weapons charge, felonious assault and attempted robbery. He had been out of prison only a short time when he purportedly committed the crimes on Oak Street.