Former State Trooper Found Guilty for 1995 Capital Murder of His Wife

June 8, 2019 Updated: June 8, 2019

Alabama—Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that former Alabama state trooper George Martin was found guilty by a Mobile jury today of the 1995 capital murder of his wife, Hammoleketh Martin, in Mobile County, and sentenced to life without parole.

“Today, a jury of his peers found George Martin guilty of taking the life of his wife by setting her on fire and leaving her to die in order to collect insurance money,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Mr. Martin, a former state trooper entrusted with protecting others, not only murdered his wife but has repeatedly avoided justice for nearly 24 years. The jury’s guilty verdict and Martin’s sentence of life without parole ensure that he will pay for his crime and justice will be served.”

Martin was previously convicted in Mobile County Circuit Court in 2000 and served 15 years on death row for killing his wife.

In 2015, his conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered. Rather than proceeding with a retrial, the lower court dismissed the indictment and Martin was freed. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision in 2016.

The Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division argued that the indictment was improperly dismissed and that Martin should be required to stand trial again. On August 31, 2018, the Alabama Supreme Court agreed and reversed the lower courts’ decisions and ordered Martin be retried for capital murder.

In its August 2018 order, the Alabama Supreme Court restated the facts of the case as follows: “In 1995, the charred remains of Martin’s wife, Hammoleketh, were found inside a burned vehicle that had collided with a tree. Although it appeared to be an accident, evidence indicated that the vehicle fire was intentionally set and that the victim was alive when the fire started. Further evidence indicated that Martin made inconsistent statements to law enforcement concerning the time he discovered his wife missing, whether his wife carried a gasoline can in her vehicle and whether his wife had used a BIC brand lighter found at the scene as a flashlight because the dome light in her vehicle did not work.” Although Martin acknowledged the existence of a $200,000 life insurance policy, he denied there was any other. In fact, there was another policy for $150,000 that was collectible only if his wife died in a passenger vehicle. A trooper report prepared by Martin the year before involved an accident with similar circumstances.

Attorney General Marshall commended Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Arrington, Tina Hammonds, Polly Kenny, Audrey Jordan and Jon Hayden for their skilled and thorough preparation of the case. Marshall also gave special thanks to District Attorney Ashley Rich and Jo Beth Murphree of the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office for their invaluable assistance in the successful prosecution of this case.

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