Martin walked into a Fresno courtroom Friday in a green jail
jumpsuit with her hands and ankles shackled.
After a two-hour hearing, Judge Franklin P. Jones told
Martin she would be freed from the Fresno County Jail while
awaiting her trial and did not have to post bail. She faces
five felony counts of making criminal threats.
Martin, 53, who has no criminal record, has been in jail
without bail since December after telling a former co-worker
that she dreamed of killing the bosses who fired her.
She contends that she is being unfairly prosecuted for
uncovering misconduct at Lockheed Martin IMS and because one
of her alleged targets is the husband of a Fresno judge.
The prosecution, however, charges that Martin owned a
revolver and was capable of carrying out the threats.
To be freed from jail, Martin promised to remain in
California and appear at all future court hearings. The judge
also told her not to possess any firearms or deadly weapons.
Martin showed little emotion, other than saying, "I'll be
there," referring to a Feb. 17 court date in which a judge
will determine whether there is a courtroom available for her
If Martin is convicted of all the charges, she could be
sentenced to five years, eight months in jail.
Martin said she had a nightmare after going to bed one day
in May 2002. In it, she confronted former bosses and shot them
in the head.
The next day, court records show, she called a former
co-worker, Debbie McGowan, and told her about the dream.
Martin had known McGowan since high school and believed her
conversation was confidential, defense lawyer Margarita
McGowan, however, told her bosses the next day, and they
called police. Martin was taken into custody on May 5, 2002.
One of Martin's alleged targets is Ken Wiseman, whose wife
is Rebecca Wiseman, a judge with the 5th District Court of
Appeal in Fresno. Because Rebecca Wiseman is involved in the
case, three judges have removed themselves from the case.
At the time she made the alleged threats, court records
show, Martin was taking the prescription antidepressant Paxil
to cope with depression she said came after she lost her job.
Doctors later changed her medication to Effexor to treat her
depression, then to Zyprexa, which can be used to treat
schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
While waiting for her trial, Martin had been free on her
own recognizance. But in December, Martinez called into
question Martin's ability to assist in her own defense, and
Quaschnick ordered Martin incarcerated without bail until
doctors could examine her.
At Friday's hearing, prosecutor Jeff Hammerschmidt and
Martinez agreed that Martin is competent to stand trial.
Martin also told Jones: "Yes I am mentally competent."
Martinez noted that Martin had made 44 court appearances
while she was free without bail, cares for her 80-year-old
mother, and has caused no trouble.
"There's certainly been no evidence whatsoever that Ms.
Martin would carry out these threats if released," said
Martinez, who complained that Martin spent Christmas, New
Year's and her 53rd birthday in custody.
Hammerschmidt agreed that Martin does not have a violent
past but said: "She has made serious threats including putting
bullets in people's heads. It appears that she'll show up if
she is released. My concern is public safety."
Dr. Avak Albert Howsepian, a psychiatrist, however,
testified that he interviewed Martin twice and believes Martin
is bipolar but "she didn't seem to me to be a danger to the
Martin doesn't have a personality disorder or a
substance-abuse problem and she has a "very, very low risk of
violence," he said.
Martinez said that the truth will set her client free, but
Martin already has paid a heavy price: "The worst that can
happen to a person has happened to her."
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