Martin withdraws guilty plea

Damon Huff - [email protected]

GEORGETOWN, Ohio – A man facing a reckless homicide charge recently withdrew his guilty plea and now wants a trial.

Donald Martin Jr., 58, was charged with reckless homicide on Nov. 12 after authorities in Brown County received a call requesting life squad to respond to his address in Mount Orab.

According to the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, the caller stated that an 11-year-old boy at the address had been having a temper tantrum, passed out, and was experiencing short, shallow breaths. According to the sheriff’s department, the life squad responded and found the boy, Martin’s step-grandson, unresponsive at the scene. The boy was transported by the life squad to Mount Orab Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to detectives at the time, Martin stepped in after the boy and Martin’s wife got into an altercation. Brown County Sheriff Gordon Ellis said it appeared as if the boy passed away as a result of positional asphyxiation or compression.

Martin pleaded guilty on April 26 to one count of third-degree felony reckless homicide before withdrawing that plea and requesting a trial.

“In the present case, the defendant is professing his innocence and expressing his desire to proceed to a court trial,” the motion to withdraw read. “”He claims that his judgment was impaired when he entered his guilty plea by emotions of fear and panic of proceeding to a trial and losing.”

Martin’s attorney, Bruce S. Wallace, alleged in the motion that Martin’s panic and fear clouded his judgment and prohibited him from truly understanding his trial rights and the consequences of his plea.

“His plea, in essence, was not freely and voluntarily entered into, despite an appropriate Criminal Rule 11 discussion on the record,” the motion read. “[Martin] has had time to reflect on his decision to plead guilty and now wants to withdraw his plea and desires to exercise his constitutional right to a trial.”

Martin’s case is set to head to a pretrial hearing on July 2 at 10 a.m., where Judge Scott T. Gusweiler will presumably make a decision on whether to allow Martin to withdraw his guilty plea.

Martin is currently out of jail on bond, according to court records.

Damon Huff

[email protected]