A man who fatally shot his father because the old man didn't want junior keeping a firearm in his Huntington Beach mobile home was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison.
When jurors found 37-year-old Jeremy Dwayne Martin guilty on March 26, they'd rejected the defense argument that the son killed the father while in a methamphetamine-induced psychosis and therefore could not form the intent to kill.
Jeremy Martin was living with his 62-year-old father Frederick Martin at the Huntington By the Sea mobile home park on Newland Street, where another son, Andrew, saw the gun in Jeremy's room early the morning of May 20, 2011, and told his dad, who by then had already told unemployed Jeremy to move out. Jeremy had been up since the night before causing a "ruckus," Andrew Martin disclosed.
The gun discovery led to a verbal and physical fight later that morning, when several neighbors heard loud arguing and saw a fistfight outside the Martins' mobile home that ended with Jeremy standing over Fred.
The father went to the trailer park's clubhouse to call police and ask them to take his son away for evaluation. When arriving officers a the park and noticed Fred Martin's wounds from the fight, he explained them away by saying he'd fallen down some stairs. The cops then went to his mobile home, but Jeremy Martin did not answer the door. With no crime apparently having been committed, the officers left.
City News Service, which covered the trial, reports that Fred Martin left a voicemail message at his work explaining he would not be coming into the office that day, and he could be heard saying on the recording, "Jeremy, put the gun down. I just want to talk.''
The next call to police came from Jeremy, who said he had an "emergency,'' lying that his father tried to choke him and that the older man was shot in self-defense, Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste told jurors in March.
"Fred Martin's only goal was to keep his home safe," Balleste said in her opening. "... He did not want his son, Jeremy, with that gun because of the dangerous way he was acting. Equally goal-oriented, the son wanted to keep that gun.''
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Orange County Deputy Public Defender Stephen Daniels argued that Fred Martin was shot in self-defense, citing the meth-fueled psychosis and angling for lesser charges jurors could consider, including manslaughter or second-degree murder.
The jury deliberated for about a day before convicting Martin on one felony count of first-degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.
"It's a tragic family occurrence. He's incredibly remorseful,'' Daniels said of his client to City News Service today.