Thursday was one of those "scary days" I have everyone once in a while here at the Radio Ranch. I covered the sentencing hearing yesterday for Donald Martin--who was found guilty of killing an Oshkosh woman in a dispute over drugs.
Martin struck the woman in the head fourteen times with a claw hammer. When the woman started moaning loudly, Martin was afraid her neighbors would hear her--so covered her face with a pillow and tried to suffocate her. When that didn't work, Martin slit her throat. According to testimony during his trial, Martin taunted the woman's dead body, "played with" her body parts and stuck needles in her arm before finally leaving the crime scene with his fiancee and their baby. Yes, their baby was with them at the scene of this brutal murder.
Donald Martin becomes my new poster boy for why we need the death penalty in Wisconsin. I support the death penalty--not as a means of deterring serious crimes (I know that people who kill don't have in the back of their minds the concern that "If I do this, I'll be put to death"--they are just thinking about whatever satisfaction or benefit they will get from committing the crime)--but rather as a form of punishment that truly fits the nature of the crime. And in Martin's case, death would actually serve as a way to protect the public.
Death penalty opponents say keeping a person locked up forever and never letting them out is enough to keep up safe--but Martin was making efforts to show that is not true. While being held for this heinous crime, Martin tried to solicit fellow inmates to kill one of the main witnesses for the prosecution. He also sent letters to his friends on the outside asking them to "get the word out" that he could supply his fellow prisoners with drugs behind bars. For Donald Martin, going to prison was just going to be a new "business opportunity".
Some bleeding hearts will point to Martin's drug addiction as some kind of mitigating factor in his behavior--and how "treatment and rehabilitation" is what is really needed here. They probably don't know that Martin had gone through the state's Challenge Program for drug addict prisoners--completing a year-long boot camp that earned him early release on a previous armed robbery conviction when he was 18. Martin admitted to his presentence investigation writer that he started doing drugs again just two weeks after completing that program. This was a guy who actually loved the drug dealer lifestyle and described himself as "born to hustle."
What was scariest yesterday was the reaction Martin had to repeated descriptions of the attack and murder. He sat there stonefaced--chewing his gum and just staring straight ahead. He offered the usual "so sorry this had to happen" apology that so many other convicts offer--but this time with ZERO emotion. He didn't flinch when Judge Scott Woldt gave him life without parole--just kept chewing his gum and staring into empty space.
So off he goes to a maximum security facility to eat three meals a day, to watch TV, to get visits from his family and to plot ways to either exact his revenge from behind bars or to become the "go to guy" for "a fix" in the prison. Does that sound like justice to you?