Man facing death penalty found guilty in unrelated case

A man currently facing the death penalty for a home-invasion murder in Warren was found guilty Wednesday during a federal trial in Akron in an unrelated case for selling an assault rifle to an undercover federal agent who set up a fake storefront in Warren.

David Martin, 28, was found guilty Wednesday in U.S. Northern District Court in Akron after one hour of deliberations on charges he was a felon illegally possessing a weapon.

U.S. District Court Judge John Adams will sentence Martin Oct. 10.

Martin is also scheduled for trial in his death-penalty eligible murder case on Jan. 22, 2014. In that case, he is accused of breaking into a Warren home and ordering a woman to tie up the man she was with during a home invasion Sept. 27, then fatally shooting Jeremy Cole, 21.

Martin also shot the woman, Melissa Putnam, 29, in the hand. The bullet traveled through her hand and into her neck.

Martin also faces charges of attempted aggravated robbery, kidnapping, repeat violent offender specifications and receiving stolen property for using a stolen gun in the crime. Martin fled the area and was eventually arrested weeks later in Tallmadge.

Martin was previously convicted in Cuyahoga County for robbery and felonious assault.

In the current case, he is accused of being caught in a massive crime sweep in Trumbull County that included the Drug Enforcement Agency setting up a storefront called Stinky Pete’s in the spring of 2012.

Martin, according to court records, sold an undercover agent an assault rifle on Sept. 6, three weeks before he is accused of murdering Cole.

Court filings detail some of the DEA’s operation, which they declined to comment on during a news conference announcing the drug sweep.

The DEA set up Stinky Peete’s on Youngstown Road S.E. near Adelaide Avenue as a place to buy discounted merchandise, like shoes and clothing. The store was completely monitored with audio-visual equipment inside and outside the store. ATF and task force agents worked inside the store and monitored the cameras from an adjacent room hidden from the public.

“After Stinky Peete’s opened, word spread on the streets of Warren that the ‘employees’ of the store were willing to buy drugs and guns,’” court filings say. DEA officials at the time deflected questions about how the word was spread.

Filings say a woman Martin knew, Margaret Devore, who pleaded guilty May 28 to selling oxycodone and heroin and being a felon with a weapon in the case, sold drugs to an undercover agent multiple times.

On Sept. 6, she sold heroin to the agent. She later returned with Martin inside her vehicle and told the agent Martin wanted to sell an assault rifle.

The two left and negotiated a price via text messages, filings say, before settling on a price of $450 and $100 in store merchandise.

Martin returned to the store, wiped the gun clean and hid the gun inside his coat. He walked through the store’s backdoor and dropped the gun off inside the store’s bathroom while trying to prevent leaving fingerprints on the door, filings say.

DeVore then went inside and was given the money. Surveillance video shows DeVore handing Martin a box with the money inside and Martin counting the money, filings say.

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