This blog will mainly focus on crime in and around Southwest Missouri....Winner Of Springfield Blogger's Association: ROOKIE BLOG OF THE YEAR 2009--WINNER News or Current Events Blog Of The Year 2010
Galena, Mo.- The girlfriend of a Lampe man who was murdered in 2013 has pleaded guilty to amended charges of involuntary manslaughter for her part in his death. -
To get to the end of 28 year-old Daniel Martin Jr.’s life you’ve got to go back several months before he was murdered. His mother, Ginger Martin, testified at Annmarie Patrick’s preliminary hearing that he began dating Patrick in May and they had “an on again off again” relationship. -
It wasn’t a secret that Patrick, now 21, or Dan Martin had an ongoing battle with drug addiction. In the weeks leading up to his death Martin, “slipped of the wagon.” -
Ginger Martin said she felt like her son was being “set up again” by Patrick and she feared for her his life. Several weeks before Martin went missing, three men came to the Hawg Trough, the bar the Martin family owns near Lampe, looking for him to settle some kind of score, according to sources. -
“I didn’t trust her,” said Ginger Martin. -
Rachelle Pavelka, Dan Martin’s sister, said the last time she had any contact with her brother was about 4 p.m. on September 26th at the house of the daycare provider they both used. She said Patrick, and a man she didn’t know, were in her brother’s truck. “He said he was going to get $20 that someone owed him because he was running out of gas and asked me to take his son to my mom’s house, so I did.” -
But Dan Martin, who had several distinctive tattoos, didn’t call or show up to take little Dan home that night…or the next night…or the night following that.
“That wasn’t like him at all….I knew something was wrong,” his mom recalled. -
Ginger Martin said after she dropped little Dan off at daycare on September 27th she went to her son’s house to look for him. She found the front door unlocked and his cell phone on the arm of a couch plugged in. “I knew something was really wrong because Dan was never without his phone.”
What she found as she scrolled through the messages troubled her. “You really f****ed up this time,” was one of the messages to Dan from AnnMarie. Frantic, she said she called and texted Patrick and every other contact in her son’s phone. Only a few texted back. One of them was Patrick. -
“I don’t know where he is,” said Patrick. Patrick told the missing man’s mother that he had taken 10 Xanax and disappeared. Patrick later admitted she had not actually witnessed her boyfriend consume the prescription drug, but she believed he had. -
Ginger Martin said Patrick never asked if anyone had heard from her boyfriend, but she said she and her sister would continue to search for him. Martin’s hopes were raised in the search for her son when she was told that a relative of Dan’s son had seen him on Friday. - “It was a misunderstanding….she actually said she saw him on Thursday.” -
Earlier in 2013 Dan had moved out of the house he shared with Patrick, but they had gotten back together, Martin testified. “I was concerned she was setting him up to be jumped….again.” -
Daniel Compton, who had been charged with tampering with physical evidence for allegedly dumping Martin’s truck in Arkansas after he was murdered, testified that he first saw Martin and Patrick about noon on September 26th. He said he and Justin Tuttle were walking along the road when Martin stopped and offered them a ride.
Martin gave the men a ride to Nikki Williams’ house where they were dropped off. Martin and Patrick came back to that house a few times that afternoon, according to Compton. After one of those visits “they came out asked me if I could get some dope.” -
“They kept asking about dope. AnnMarie wrote down Jones Trading Post Road. That’s where we were supposed to meet for the deal….I never made it there, I guess,” Compton said. -
According to court documents, Patrick said she, Tuttle and Martin drove to Table Rock Lake on September 26, 2013. After arriving at the lake, Tuttle allegedly told Patrick “something was going to happen and not to freak out.” -
Compton said the next time he saw Martin’s truck it was parked on the side of Highway 86 near Dogwood Canyon about 5: 30 p.m. on September 26th and several people were surrounding it as gas was put in the vehicle.
Justin “Jay” Tuttle (courtesy SCSO)
Compton said when he got a closer look at Justin Tuttle he was covered in blood and had a split lip and head wounds. “He said Dan Martin was getting the better of him in a fight so he put a couple of holes in him and sent him ‘fishing’.” -
Patrick didn’t go home on September 26, 2013, according to court testimony. Instead, she and Justin Tuttle spent the night together at Nikki Williams’ house. “I took it they was a couple,” said Compton. “They were all over each other cuddlin’ in the back of the car.” -
“She said Jay was supposed to be treating her better than Dan Martin was and including her in decisions.” She also told Compton that Martin “had probably run off with some girls from Nixa.” -
Family and friends searched for Dan Martin for three days before a family discovered a body floating in Table Rock Lake at the end of Jones Trading Post Road.
Ginger Martin raced to the scene and begged officers…”Go check for the tattoo’s…..I can’t do that.” -
The mother’s worst fears were realized when authorities confirmed that the body, that had been weighted down with a large boulder, was indeed her son. It was the Martin tattoo on his back and the tattoo of cards on his neck that sealed the confirmation. -
Dr. Keith Norton, with Southwest Missouri Forensics, conducted the autopsy on Martin. He said Martin had eight puncture wounds on his body and three small cuts to the tips of the fingers on his left hand. He also had several wounds to the back of his head and a deep laceration on the side of his face that ran across his nose. -
Norton said the head wounds could have been caused by the 10 pound rock found inside of Martin’s shirt that had been used to weigh him down. -
Because of the state of decomposition Norton “could not definitively” say which wound caused Martin’s death. -
A few days after Martin’s remains were found, his truck was discovered down a ravine in rural Boone County, Arkansas. Authorities believe diesel fuel had been dumped all over the vehicle. -
AnnMarie’s attorney, Steve Kellogg, said, that while his client had knowledge of Martin’s murder, she did not actively participate in killing him and did not “cooly deliberate” before the homicide and should not be facing a first-degree murder charge. -
Earlier this month, at a motion hearing, Kellogg told Circuit Judge Jack Goodman that Patrick asked for an attorney three separate times and law enforcers continued to question her. -
Several witnesses took the stand at the March 6th hearing in Goodman’s courtroom.
First on the stand was Stone County sheriff’s deputy Taylor Jenkins. - Jenkins stated that he and Kimberling City police officer Jody Shepard went to the home of Patrick’s mother, Lori Gutendorf, between 2 – 3 a.m. on September 30th looking for Patrick, who was asleep in the basement. -
Jenkins asked Patrick where she’d been and she stated “in Branson for a few days.” She told law enforcers that her mom picked her up “on the square in Blue Eye.” When asked if the clothes she was wearing had been worn all weekend, she stated her other clothes and purse were in her mother’s vehicle. -
Patrick, who took the stand at the suppression hearing, says when Jenkins left to collect those items she invoked her right to an attorney to Shepard. Jenkins says she never did.-
“My mom said they would probably be coming and that I’m an adult and have to ask for an attorney myself,” Patrick testified. -
Gutendorf said that she told Shepard that “Marie” wanted an attorney. “He said she needs to ask…..she hasn’t even been arrested.” Gutendorf said when she and her daughter both told the officer that Marie wanted an attorney he said, “Why do you want an attorney? That’s just going to make you look guilty.”
Stone County Prosecutor Matt Selby
When Stone County prosecutor Matt Selby began questioning Patrick about her drug use in the 12 hours leading up to Martin’s murder, she said she had not used any illegal drugs. At that point, Kellogg told her not to answer any further questions that had nothing to do with her request for an attorney. -
At today’s plea hearing, Selby said, “Although we do not have evidence that the defendant was physically responsible for the victim’s death or that she was aware that he was going to actually be killed at the time that he was, she did recklessly engage in a course of conduct that led to him being killed. She was with and acted with Jay Tuttle before, during and after Daniel Martin was killed.” -
It was Dan’s sister, Rachelle, who spoke on behalf of the family just before Patrick was sentenced today. “Everyday we wake up we have to accept that it will be another day without our sunshine…the light of our lives, which is what Dan was to our family. Our home was always filled with love and so much laughter, but there isn’t much of that anymore because he was the one who made us laugh the most.” -
With tears streaming down her face she continued. “I just hope every night you go to sleep you see his face and understand what you have taken from us and you understand what taking little Daniel’s father, who meant the world to him, feels like because almost every night he cries and says how much he misses his daddy and wants him back. You stole Dan’s life, therefore you should not get anything less, however, that is not up to us. God will be your final judge and he will give you the maximum punishment you truly deserve. All we ask you to do now is to hold up your agreement and put Justin Tuttle away for life.” -
Patrick was facing a life sentence for the murder of her boyfriend. Today, in a “negotiated” plea agreement, she was sentenced to seven years for involuntary manslaughter. She was also sentenced to seven years for stealing money out of Martin’s pants pocket, and her part in the theft of his truck. -
Those sentences are to be served consecutively (one after the other.) - Justin Tuttle is scheduled to stand trial in September in Jasper County, where the case was moved on a change of venue.