Signs of relief and tears of joy filled the courtroom this afternoon as Troy Martin was found not guilty for the accidental murder of his sister Leisa Martin in 1998.
After a gripping seven days in trial, the defense and the state gave their closing arguments Thursday morning.
Accused by his own brother Todd Martin in 2010 for suffocating his sister to death in 1998, a jury found Troy Martin not guilty after six-hours of deliberation.
The 16-year Bagley cold case finally came to trial last Wednesday, after it was moved from Clearwater County to Beltrami County following a Grand Jury indictment thrown out in 2012.
The lapse in time, inconsistent witness testimony, missing police reports, and questionable evidence made this a confusing and difficult case for both parties.
The state argued that Troy didn’t care about his sister’s disappearance or her death and made numerous callous comments about Leisa during the investigation.
The defense says the state’s case was based on Todd Martin’s unreliable testimony and “forced confession.”
But while the family found some closure today, Leisa Martin’s death still remains a mystery.
The family did not want to make a statement at this time, but outside the courtroom they told us they were relieved and glad it was finally over.
The state also declined to comment on camera, but Assistant Attorney General Eric Schieferdecker told Lakeland News that, “They respect the jury’s decision and were glad Leisa Martin’s story was finally told.”
The state cannot appeal a not-guilty verdict.
Because of his plea deal with the state, it is unlikely that murder charges will be brought against Todd Martin.
Todd will be sentenced for one count of aiding and abetting manslaughter after the fact. He faces zero to 54-months in prison. His sentencing date has not been set yet.