Thursday Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) announced that the Alabama Supreme Court has reversed lower court decisions that had dismissed the indictment of former state trooper George Martin to be retried for the 1995 capital murder of his wife in Mobile County.
Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that the indictment will be reinstated and that he will be retried for the murder of his wife in Mobile County. The Alabama Supreme Court ruling reversed lower court rulings that had dismissed the indictment.
Martin was convicted in 2000 and served for fifteen years on death row for killing Hammoleketh Martin. In 2015 the conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered. Rather than proceeding with a retrial, the lower court dismissed the indictment and Martin was freed. The Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision in 2016. On Thursday, the Supreme Court reversed both decisions.
The Court restates the facts of the case as follows: “In 1995, the charred remains of Martin’s wife, Hammoleketh, were found inside a burned vehicle that had collided with a tree. Although it appeared to be an accident, evidence indicated that the vehicle fire was intentionally set and that the victim was alive when the fire started. Further evidence indicated that Martin made inconsistent statements to law enforcement concerning the time he discovered his wife missing, whether his wife carried a gasoline can in her vehicle and whether his wife had used a BIC brand lighter found at the scene as a flashlight because the dome light in her vehicle did not work.”
Martin acknowledged the existence of a $200,000 life insurance policy, but denied that there was any other. The investigation discovered that there was another policy for $150,000 that was collectible only if his wife died in a passenger vehicle. Martin prepared a trooper report the year before in an accident with similar circumstances.
The Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division argued that the indictment was improperly dismissed and that Martin should be required to stand trial again. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed and reversed the lower courts’ decisions and ordered that Martin must be retried for capital murder. The Attorney General’s Criminal Trials Division will prosecute the case.
AG Marshall commended Assistant Attorney General Audrey Jordan for her successful work in handling the matter on appeal.
AG Marshall was appointed by then Governor Robert Bentley (R). Marshall was a former District Attorney in Marshall County and is seeking his own term as Alabama’s Attorney General. He faces Joseph Siegelman (D) in the general election on November 6.