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Defendant kills self before mistrial ruling

2-8-2008 Washington:

A Yacolt man committed suicide before a jury finished deliberations in his sex abuse trial, a Clark County judge said Thursday.

David E. Martin, 47, was out of custody while on trial, which began Monday in Superior Court.

Martin was accused of raping and molesting a relative in 2005, when the girl was 12 and had traveled from Utah to spend the summer with Martin and his wife.

The 12-member jury began deliberations at approximately 1:40 p.m. Wednesday and was sent home at 5 p.m.

Jurors returned to court Thursday morning, but after two hours could not reach a verdict.

The foreman was emphatic that the group would not be able to reach a unanimous decision, said Judge John Nichols.

Nichols declared a mistrial at 11 a.m. Thursday.

He said he told Deputy Prosecutor Tonya Riddell and defense attorney Paul Bruce to return to court at 2:30 p.m. to schedule a new trial.

Nichols told Bruce, who said he'd left messages for Martin, to track down his client.

Bruce later called Nichols' office and said Martin had killed himself.

According to court documents filed last summer, Martin worked as a salesman at a Longview car dealership. When he was booked into the Clark County Jail he said he suffered from depression.

Martin's 23-year-old wife killed herself a year ago, Nichols said. ..more.. by Stephanie Rice can be contacted at 360-735-4549 or

Yacolt man kills self before jury deadlocks in his trial
2-8-2008 Washington:

A Yacolt man on trial for child rape and molestation was found dead Thursday, having committed suicide before a jury was dismissed after becoming deadlocked on his verdict.

David E. Martin, 47, did not answer calls Thursday morning to come to Clark County Superior Court when the jury stalled, said Paul Bruce, his Vancouver attorney.

The jury began deliberations Wednesday afternoon but did not reach a decision on whether Martin was guilty of five counts of second-degree rape of a child and one count of second-degree child molestation, Bruce said. The charges involved a 12-year-old girl.

The jury reconvened Thursday morning, but members later notified the judge they could not agree on a verdict. Judge John F. Nichols declared a mistrial at 11 a.m.

Bruce said he received a call later Thursday from Martin's brother, saying Martin was dead of an overdose. He apparently killed himself sometime Wednesday night, Bruce said.

Martin's wife, Ashley, 23, committed suicide on Jan. 30, 2007, Bruce said. ..more.. by Holley Gilbert;

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