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Keith Martin Trial: Lives Destroyed in One Night - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Keith Martin Trial: Lives Destroyed in One Night

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SHREVEPORT, La -

     Homicide leaves more casualties than just the victim. So was the case last week of convicted murderer Keith Martin.  Two women, Martin's girlfriend and her mother, had their lives ended violently. Their families grieve; Rashonda Taylor's two young children will never get to know their mother.  The killer also made a victim of his own mother. Ida Dumas lost her son to a lifetime in prison, put there in large part by another son -- Martin's brother delivered key testimony when he testified against his brother.

A closer look at the circumstances of a case of domestic violence taken to a tragic end:

It's around 2:30 in the morning in February of 2011 in a west Shreveport area near Calumet Refinery.  A neighbor hears gunshots as someone burst through the door of a house on Baxter Street. One of the two women in the house, Linda Taylor, is shot almost immediately. The intruder with a handgun then runs down the hallway and shoots Taylor's daughter, Rashonda Taylor.  Linda's lifeless body lies in the kitchen and Rashonda's in the back bedroom for more than nine hours until a relative discovers the murder scene around 1 p.m.

Police are led to pick up Keith Martin. Rashonda's off and on again boyfriend. They question him about where he was that night. But his story about spending time at a club called Overtime with his brother didn't add up.

Police find out that Keith and Rashonda's relationship at times had been violent. In 2009 Rashonda filed a temporary protection order against Martin, who is also the father of her two kids. Then police question Keith's brother Jasper who initially says he and his brother had nothing to do with what happened at the house on Baxter Street. Police collected DNA evidence but it did not point a conclusive finger at Keith.

What points to Keith are friends and relatives of Linda and Rashonda Taylor. "We called seven family and friends and co-workers of Rashonda Taylor. They testified about the bruises on her body and how Rashonda was fearful of Keith," says Caddo Parish prosecuting attorney Laura Fulco.

Eventually Jasper Martin changes his mind. He tells a Caddo Parish jury how he watched his brother break through the front door of the Taylor house on Baxter Street, saw him shoot the mother said he saw Keith run down the hall and heard him shoot the daughter. After the shooting Jasper testifies in court that his brother asked him to go to a downtown Shreveport bar, "Overtime." Surveillance video showed the men at the bar. Jasper said he was shaken up by the shooting so much he could barely drink. Keith, on the other hand had a few drinks and acted like nothing had happened.

The prosecution contended Keith Martin was trying to use the bar for an alibi, but it proved to be an alibi that didn't work. Keith told police in his statement that he was at a bar downtown called Overtime between 1:30 and 2:30 in the morning. A deep look at his phone records and the cell tower information revealed that wasn't in fact the case. He was smack in the Mooretown area right by Baxter Street when this homicide occurred. This, including a police interrogation, all came out in court.

DETECTIVE: How long did you stay?

MARTIN: We stayed in the club for awhile

DETECTIVE: You don't remember when you left the club? You left with your brother?

MARTIN: Yep

DETECTIVE: Well look here…I'm telling you either you are lying or your brother's lying!

Members of the Taylor family cried when the verdict was read --  Guilty on both counts of second-degree murder.

Martin's mother also was beside herself:

"I don't think it was justice," says Ida Dumas.

Prosecutor Fulco was happy the Taylor family finally got justice. 

"I'm just so glad that justice was done for the Taylor family. This is a family that suffered not only one loss but two losses. This case is tragic in more ways than that: there are two children who will forever live without a mother and a grandmother," says Fulco.

Martin faces two life sentences with no chance of parole. Sentencing is scheduled for October 28th.

October is set aside nationally to bring awareness to domestic violence. In Shreveport-Bossier, Providence House operates a safe house and staffs an crisis phone line: 318-226-5015

 

 

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