WV Civil Rights Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

Martin Found Guilty in Fayette County Triple Murder Case – Prosecutor Attacks the 2nd Amendment

From the Register-Herald today:

Its no big surprise that after just under two hours of deliberations, the jury of seven women and five men found Gary D. Martin, 57, of Stringtown Road, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder.

Obviously the jury didn’t buy the self defense argument. However, they did find Martin guilty of second-degree murder for killing the victim that had the gun in the holster. Thus, the jury was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Martin killed that particular victim with premeditation. They were convinced with respect to the other two victims however.

This result is no surprise given the evidence. However, I was surprised to read what Fayette County Prsoecutor Carl Harris “thundered” in his closing argument. The Register-Herald quoted him saying as follows:

“Only two people are alive at the end of that day because the other three are dead,” Harris thundered in closing arguments. “This is a weapon for killing,” he added, holding up the AK-47. “This is not a weapon for target practice. This is a military weapon. You don’t pull out a pistol when you’re facing a weapon like this. Self-defense (as a legal defense) doesn’t work when you shoot someone in the back.”

According to Carl Harris, an AK-47 is only a “weapon for killing” and cannot be used for target practice as it is purely a “military weapon.” Carl Harris should be ashamed of himself. Law-abiding citizens across the State of West Virginia own so-called “assault weapons” such as AK-47s and AR-15s, which they do use for target practice, self defense, or just to collect. It is just a semi-automatic rifle, similar to many others that West Virginians and other Americans own and use across the country every single day. Attention Fayette County residents: hide your guns because Carl Harris is probably looking to prosecute you for harboring “weapons for killing.” Don’t try to get some target practice in, you may end up in prison. Carl Harris needs to realize that it is perfectly legal to own that particular gun, as well as many others, and he needs to keep his anti-gun feelings to himself, and out of the courtroom.

Read the full article here.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.

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April 23, 2008 - Posted by | Juries, Murder, Prosecutors, Self Defense, Trials

2 Comments »

  1. that is a bunch of bull! that man intended to kill those 3 young men. and that is what he did using an ak-47 so in that case it is very illegal to own a weapon to murder people!

    Comment by jessica | April 26, 2008 | Reply

  2. I agree with Jessica; although I understand Fayette County didn’t prove it. It’s awfully hard to understand how a man (I mean his weird son) can shoot three individuals without reason, but that is exactly what happened. And it’s not fair to my brother to have become the patsy in this case because he carried a legal firearm. During the entire trial Gary Martin and his son bother lied under oath. The families still do not have the truth. Could be his son was fulfilling a fantasy of his on what it would feel like to kill someone and my brother was an easy defense for him because he carried a gun. It’s not right when my brother or the other victims aren’t here to defend themselves or tell us what really happened. I do know they had to kill the witnesses to hide their secret.

    Comment by Rhonda | May 18, 2012 | Reply


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