PHOENIX, AZ (November 15, 2011) – After five days of deliberation, a Maricopa County jury has found Jeffrey R. Martinson (D.O.B. 11/12/1966) guilty of abusing and murdering his five year-old son, Joshua Eberle Martinson in 2004. The jury will now consider whether to impose the death penalty.
At the time of Joshua’s death in August of 2004, Jeffrey Martinson had been involved in a litigious custody battle with the child’s mother, Kristen Eberle. Martinson was also under an Order of Protection, which he had violated several times. Just before Martinson’s weekend visitation with Joshua, Kristen Eberle filed notice requesting supervised exchanges of the child because of difficulties with Martinson’s behavior at previous exchanges in public places. Their Family Court Advisor was in support of this request and Martinson received the notice on Friday or Saturday.
When Martinson failed to show up on Sunday evening to exchange Joshua with Kristen, she called police. Martinson was found in his residence lying on his bed, having apparently taken an overdose of Tylenol PM. He also had marks on his arm indicating a possible suicide attempt. Joshua was found in his bunk bed, clearly dead, with indications that he had been moved since he died.
The Medical Examiner ruled that the cause of Joshua’s death was acute Carisoprodol toxicity. An empty childproof bottle of the drug, which is frequently prescribed as a muscle relaxant under the brand name Soma, was found on the top shelf of Martinson’s medicine cabinet, behind some other bottles. The Medical Examiner also reported that he could not rule out the possibility of asphyxiation in combination with the drug found in Joshua’s system.
On September 8, 2004, a Grand Jury indicted Martinson on one Class 1 count of First Degree Felony Murder and one Class 2 count of Child Abuse, with both offenses classified as Dangerous Crimes Against Children. Martinson had eleven different attorneys appointed by the Court during the years the case was pending.