Martin defense pitches ‘purposeful lie’

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

The trial of a Henry County man on charges that he illegally had a three-year sexual relationship with a minor continues today.

Joseph David Martin, 39, of Turners Station took the stand in his own defense Tuesday, explaining the concept of ‘purposeful lies,’ as introduced by his attorney, Harley Blankenship.

During opening arguments last week, Blankenship told the jury of 11 women and two men that while Martin initially confessed to the crimes he was charged with, he later recanted his confession.

Blankenship told the jury that Martin did so because “he thought it was absolutely necessary to protect his (children),” and said that “the truth has been a casualty in this matter.”

In the Commonwealth’s opening argument, Commonwealth’s Attorney Courtney Baxter outlined a strategy that essentially used Martin’s own words against him: When interviewed at the State Police Post 5 in Campbellsburg in October 2011, Martin brought a hand-written, 10-page confession detailing the sexual acts with the victim, who was 13 when the alleged abuse began; and repeated his confession on video for Detective Tim Moore.

“The evidence will prove that this case is about control, abuse… of a girl,” Baxter said.

In the written confession, Martin described the many sexual acts that he and the victim performed. Baxter said the descriptions were “as if between two consenting adults, not a child…” and that the victim told Martin’s wife Tina on more than one occasion.

She also said that Martin blamed the victim, and listed a variety of underage girls and the “many opportunities” he had.

But Baxter also said that Martin gave some witnesses, and said in his confession, statements in which “he even reasons, he was helping… you will actually hear him say ‘sometimes I felt like I was satisfying her so she wouldn’t go out and get pregnant or catch a disease, or both.’

“’I’ve had chances with other underage girls and turned them down,’” Baxter read. “’I don’t understand what happened with (the victim). I feel that it was her fault. But I was supposed to be the adult, and I wasn’t.’”

Oct. 20, 2011

On Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, David and Tina Martin, and the victim took part in a counseling session with their pastor, James Maroney, at the Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Campbellsburg. Maroney’s wife Gayla also was at the session, at the victim’s request.

It was there, Maroney testified, that revelation of the relationship between Martin and the victim — who was 16 at the time of the session — took place.

After the session was over, Maroney consulted with a fellow pastor on what he needed to do next.

Later that night, Maroney called the Martins to his home, and informed them he would have to call the Cabinet for Family Protective Services and report what he had been told.

Martin, he said, was relieved. “He seemed very relieved,” Maroney said. “His words were ‘I want this to end. I want it to stop.’ And ‘If I have to do some jail time, I want to be saved,’ and said that several times.”

Maroney also said that Martin expressed, several times, a hope for mercy or leniency from law enforcement.

The next day, Maroney contacted the cabinet to report the incident.

Oct. 21, 2011

Brittany Piascik took Maroney’s call, and teamed up with Moore to create ‘a plan of action’ for investigating the case.

Piascik also called Tina Martin, and reviewed a safety plan, as well as arranging a meeting at Post 5 for Oct. 23.

She also called Joseph David Martin, and left a message.

Piascik said that when Martin called back that night, he “immeidately started talking about the relationship with (the victim), specifically that he was having a sexual relationship.

“I’m not going to call it a relationship, because it was abuse.”

She went on to testify that Martin was expressing suicidal thoughts during the call, and she told him that she would call law enforcement to do a welfare check.

Oct. 23, 2011

The Martins, James Maroney and the victim all appeared at Post 5 on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011.

Piascik testified that the defendant told them explicity what acts were performed, and that at times, he and the victim videotaped themselves. That tape, she said, was destroyed in a house fire.

She also testified that Martin blamed the victim, saying “that he would have sex with her to keep her from committing suicide.”

At some point during the three-year relationship, Piascik said, Martin and the victim conducted a marriage ceremony.

“He expressed a deep belief in religion, that he knew what he was doing was wrong... that he wanted to be married (to the victim),” Piascik said.

During his testimony, Moore read Martin’s written confession, which began with, “when (the victim) was 13, something really bad happened.”

Also in the written confession, Martin writes that the victim initiated contact, but “after a few months, I would go to her.”

Martin also was recorded at Post discussing the extent of the relationship. He talks about telling the victim at various times in the relationship that he wanted to stop, and that even after the ‘marriage ceremony’ he “still don’t feel right.”

At the end of the recorded confession, Moore tells Martin that he will be going to jail, and Martin expresses concern that he would lose his job while he was in jail.

October 2012

Martin’s case originally was scheduled for trial in October 2012, but new evidence postponed that.

That evidence came in the form of letters, in which the defendant allegedly attempts to induce another person, his mother, to tamper with evidence and to tamper with the victim.

Moore said that during an interview with the defendant’s mother, Joyce McClain, he received 127 pages of letters written by Martin.

“The letters she handed to me were going in different directions,” Moore said. “I pulled one out of the pile and a certain passage caught my eye.”

That passage referred to harddrives kept in a black bag, which McClain told Moore she had, along with Martin’s desktop computer.

Once collected as evidence, the computer was taken to the state forensic lab for processing. As Moore reviewed the computer evidence, he ddiscovered “100 pictures of child pornography on the computer.”

The forensics expert who processed the evidence later said that many of those images were found in the computer’s recycle bin, or trash can.

The Letters

Also during his testiomony, Moore read from some of the letters McClain gave him.

Included among those were a letter where Martin blames the victim for what has happened. “I can’t believe (the victim) is getting by without anything,” Martin wrote in one letter. “She raped me three times and several times. Everyone is treating her like a victim.”

In yet another letter, Martin says another prisoner admitted to having sex with a minor, and “I should have kept my mouth shut, many people get by with it every day.”

In another, dated Jan. 7, 2012, Martin states “my mind is going in all different dreictions. I want to stick to the confession. I just want to get into heaven. I don’t know if God will accept me.”

In a letter dated Jan. 31, “If you write (the victim) a note, tell her I am going to tell everyone it is not true... Don’t tell (the victim) I said anything. I can’t have any contact with her.”

The Commonwealth also played for the jury recordings of phone calls between Martin and his mother after his arrest in October 2011.

The victim

On Friday, April 19, the victim, now 18, took the stand and described her relationship with Martin.

The victim told jurors she wrote a letter to McClain because “I was getting pushed by (a cousin) to write the letter. She kept telling me I needed to write so Mawmaw would leave me alone. She wanted to write that it was all made up and it didn’t happen.” But she told jurors that the relationship did indeed happen, and did so in explicit detail.

Purposeful lies

Tuesday, Martin took the stand in his own defense, and shed light on Blankenship’s ‘purposeful lies’ statements.

Martin testified that he confessed his relationship with the victim to his wife, hoping that “she would get mad and... move.”

Later in his testimony, Martin dropped a bombshell, claiming that threats had been made to him and his wife and their children. Two people in ski masks, he claimed, approached him and threatened him at the creek by his house.

The incident, he told Blankenship and the jury, took place in September 2011, and that “I was told I was being watched.”

Martin, crying, said the men told him if he didn’t do what they told him to do, “he said my wife and children would disappear.”

He did not report the incident to police, he said, because he believed he was being watched.

Martin later testified that he believed the victim would recant her own statements once she turned 18.


Martin was still on the stand at press time. Circuit Court Judge Karen Conrad did not expect the case to be given to the jury Tuesday afternoon, but possibly sometime on Wednesday.