Waldorf man convicted of trying to kill pregnant girlfriend in Crofton

Woman survived gunshot to head

May 06, 2010|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

A Waldorf man faces the possibility of life in prison after he was found guilty of trying to kill his pregnant girlfriend in her Crofton home.

An Anne Arundel County jury convicted Charles Brandon Martin, 32, late Wednesday of attempted first-degree murder of Jodi Torok, 27, one of his three girlfriends, ending a trial that began last week. Prosecutors contended that Martin, who has four children with his wife and two with another girlfriend, persuaded another man to shoot Torok in October 2008 when she refused to have an abortion. Torok survived; the fetus did not.

Martin, who court records say chose not to testify, was found not guilty of soliciting murder. During the trial, jurors were told that what was most likely Martin's DNA was found on tape at the mouth of a Gatorade bottle at the crime scene. The bottle appeared to have been a homemade silencer, its bottom blown out.

"We are very pleased that justice has been served," said Kristin Fleckenstein, spokeswoman for the county prosecutors. "I can't discuss any details of what [sentence] they will be seeking."

Sentencing is scheduled for July 1 in front of Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North.

"I am disappointed in the jury's verdict and I intend to appeal," said Leonard Stamm, Martin's attorney. He told jurors that there was no evidence that Martin was behind the shooting, and argued that one of the other girlfriends was jealous enough to try to kill Torok.

Last November, Jerold R. Burks, 22, also of Waldorf, was found not guilty of performing the hit for Martin. Prosecutors claimed Burks was trying to erase a $400 drug debt.

At Burks' trial, Torok, who was in a wheelchair from injuries suffered when she was shot in the head, said she was excited about her pregnancy, although she testified that she was not entirely sure Martin was the father. She had been seeing someone else as well.

Martin also faces charges in Prince George's County. He is accused of trying to persuade another of his girlfriends to change her testimony at Burks' trial. She said that she kept Martin's semiautomatic handgun in her nightstand and that Martin confirmed to her that he removed it the day Torok was shot.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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