A month ago, William Martin was in jail facing possible murder charges. Now, though he’s facing a federal complaint for gun and drug charges, he’s moving to Georgia to start a new job.
Martin, 24, was released on bond, but he will be on electronic monitoring and must travel back for hearings in Dayton’s U.S. District Court. His case has been bound over to a federal grand jury.
Dayton police said Martin’s shooting of two men — one who died — in a car outside the Roosters Restaurant on North Main Street isn’t classified as justifiable homicide, but said the facts of the case made it “appropriate” for the federal system.
Dayton police said Leo Montgomery III, 21, died of gunshot wounds and Evon Walker was shot but survived after police say Martin fired at them on Dec. 2, 2016.
A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Martin’s state case was terminated March 7 without being reviewed by a three-prosecutor panel.
Now, Martin is facing possible federal charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and use, carrying, and discharge of a firearm during and relation to a drug trafficking crime.
“It’s a unique form of prosecution in my mind,” defense attorney Jon Paul Rion said. “I think if it were a self-defense case, I think William Martin would have been acquitted on all charges and he would have walked a free man.”
Rion said there was clear evidence that would have come out during the trial that Martin was a victim of a conspiracy to harm him.
“Every citizen in Ohio and, in frankly, the United States, would agree that a person has an absolute right to use self defense when their life is threatened,” Rion said, adding that the public shouldn’t worry about Martin’s release on bond. “I don’t think anyone should have any concern in the context of that. You’re no less of a person by attempting to save your own life.”
Federal prosecutors opposed Martin’s release, but Magistrate Judge Sharon Ovington agreed with pretrial services’ recommendation that Martin need not be incarcerated. Assistant United States attorney Brent Tabacchi didn’t return a message seeking comment.
Martin’s uncle, Joseph Martin, is the president of VinMar Services Group. He wrote a letter stating that his nephew would make $13.25 per hour as a customer service representative and work 30-35 hours per week.
“Joe Martin was a wonderful witness,” defense attorney Jon Paul Rion said. “He’s a mentor. He’s intelligent. He’s caring. He’s responsible. He’s respectful to the court.
“He has credentials that are impeccable, and the court felt that the presumption (of detention) was overcome if that caliber of person would be involved in his life on a daily basis.”
Rion said Martin will live near his job and be monitored by law enforcement in Georgia: “Joe Martin will be able to give William great perspective in life and will be a wonderful influence.”