Balto. Co. Woman Found Guilty in Husband’s Murder

… Wife could receive 60-year term in plot to kill Dundalk bar owner …

By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

7:03 PM EST, January 13, 2012

A Baltimore County woman could receive up to 60 years in prison under a plea agreement for plotting the killing of her husband, a Dundalk bar owner, in 2010.

At a hearing Friday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, Jaclyn J. Martin, 31, entered an “Alford plea” to a charge of first-degree murder. In such a plea, the defendant maintains innocence but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

Martin — one of four defendants in the case — was accused of asking her brother, Robert M. Garner, to kill her husband, Lee Martin, in May 2010. Lee Martin, 43, was the owner of Hops Inn, a bar on Railway Avenue in Dundalk.

Garner, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in November, was accused of shooting Martin eight times in the head, neck and chest outside the establishment after Martin finished locking up about 2:20 a.m.

Under the plea agreement, Jaclyn Martin could be sentenced to 60 years in prison with possibility of parole. Had the case gone to trial, she could have faced a life term without parole.

Wearing a loose-fitting black suit and shackles around her ankles, Martin repeatedly answered “yes” Friday as her lawyer, James Rhodes, and Judge Robert E. Cahill Jr. asked whether she understood the terms of the plea agreement.

Prosecutor Lisa Dever read a statement with details from the case. She said Jaclyn Martin had been banned from the bar because of her excessive drinking. Martin had also mentioned pushing her husband down a flight of steps as a possible way to kill him, Dever said.

Jaclyn Martin had accused her husband of abuse. Prosecutors believe her motive to kill him was money, and that she thought she would receive a portion of her husband’s assets when he died.

Garner told Sturm R. Davis and Brandon M. Roth, then both 19, that he would pay them $300 each to help him, Dever said, but only Roth got paid, receiving $100.

Prosecutors believe Davis and Roth thought they were going to beat Martin, not kill him.

Davis accompanied Garner to the bar, where Garner showed a handgun and demanded Martin’s wallet and then shot him, police say, and Roth drove the getaway car.

Roth pleaded guilty in October 2010 to first-degree assault. The next month, Davis pleaded guilty to armed robbery and use of a handgun in a violent crime.

No one in the case has been sentenced. On Friday, Cahill tentatively scheduled Jaclyn Martin’s sentencing for March 13. The other defendants are likely to be sentenced in March.

Copyright © 2012, The Baltimore Sun

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