The first-degree murder trial of Jeffrey Martinson, who is accused of murdering his 5-year-old son Joshua at his Ahwatukee apartment in 2004, continued this week with testimony from first responders to the scene and close neighbors.
The state called Karla Ramos to the stand on Friday, Aug. 19. Ramos was a neighbor to Jeffrey Martinson in 2004. She said she spent a lot of time with Jeffrey and his son, Joshua, who visited every Wednesday and every-other weekend.
The weekend of Joshua's death, Ramos said she had breakfast with Joshua and Jeffrey on that Saturday morning and they had tentative plans for dinner that night. Instead, Ramos decided to visit her family in Yuma.
At 8:03 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2004, Ramos received a text from Jeffrey that said, "We love you and will miss you." Some time later she said she called Jeffrey and talked to him for over an hour.
She testified that Jeffrey was not himself on the phone, that he was not making sense and sounded like he was in a fog.
The next night, when Ramos was back at her apartment, she said Kristin Eberle, Joshua's mother, and two officers knocked on her door and told her that Jeffrey had not shown up at their exchange to return Joshua. He was also not answering his door.
Ramos hopped the patio fence and found the back door unlocked. She was the first to discover Jeffrey unconscious on the bed, with cuts on his wrists, in the master bedroom, where he had apparently attempted suicide. Ramos stayed on scene with Eberle and at some point during the night they both learned that Joshua was not alive.
Ramos said she was interviewed that night by detectives but testified that when she reread the interview she did not sound like herself.
She told Michael Terribile, Martinson's defense attorney, that she may have been in shock during the interview and she was uncomfortable with the questioning.
Capt. William Grischo of the Phoenix Fire Department was working as a paramedic on Aug. 29, 2004. He said Jeffrey Martinson was awake when firefighters arrived on scene but he was not responding to first responders.
Grischo explained a "lash reflex," which is when a paramedic lightly touches the lashes of a patient. If the patient's eyes flutter, which is a natural response, the person is not completely unconscious. Jeffrey did have a lash response.
"If you're unconscious you don't have a lash reflex," Grischo said while on the stand. "It complicates the issue because it means he's purposefully not communicating with us as opposed to actually being unconscious."
Grischo said Joshua was dead on scene.
Prosecutors then called Detective Paul Dalton of the Phoenix Police Department to the stand. Dalton is a homicide detective who took over the case. Dalton was asked to verify evidence found in the apartment on that Sunday night.
Dalton went over legal documents found on the counter dealing with orders of protection from Eberle. Eberle was granted many orders of protection against Martinson in the years leading up to Joshua's death.
Dalton also confirmed that there was a box cutter, an empty bottle of cough syrup and various other medications found in the master bathroom.
In the master bedroom, Dalton confirmed there was Tylenol PM and a roll of clear tape found on the night stand and a black garbage bag with clear tape on it on the floor, halfway under the bed.
More garbage bags with clear tape on them were found in the laundry room trash can as well as an empty box of Tylenol and a torn green towel.
In the kitchen, detectives found a bottle of Stoli Razberi Vodka and a bottle of cran-raspberry flavored drink on the counter with a cup that appeared to have remnants of a red liquid inside.
Dalton said the liquid was still wet when they arrived on scene. A receipt from Bashas' was found in the kitchen from when the vodka had been purchased. It was time stamped 10:06 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2004.
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