A 29 year-old aspiring Memphis rapper and producer, Jimmie Martin, known as Triksta, has been convicted in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Martha Jean Bownes, an Army veteran, who served in Iraq. Martin was convicted on Friday during a new trial.
Jimmie Martin, who was previously acquitted of first-degree murder in 2010, claimed that the shooting that took place back on January 13, 2007 was an accident and that he and his girlfriend were trying to investigate a possible break-in in their place at the Edgewater Apartments near Sycamore View and Raleigh-LaGrange.
According to reports, Martin, a former Navy hospital corpsman, revealed a story to jurors that the gun discharged while he attempted to turn the safety on.
Bownes friend Shante Rudd, who served in the Army, says she was speaking on the phone to Bownes prior to the shooting and could hear Martin yelling in the background as the two talked.
Shante Rudd told jurors that Martha Bownes told her she would call her back due to ‘J’ (Jimmie Martin) talking trash and that she was going to handle this ‘b-tch.’
Rudd said she received a phone call shortly, which rung only once and she tried to call her friend back only to get no answer. It was days later when she found out that Bownes was shot dead from a bullet wound to the chest.
Meanwhile, Jimmie Martin, told jurors that he tried to show Bownes how to use the safety of the gun, but they had a hard time buying into his claim because Bownes had been an armed security officer and had worked in munition (materials used in war, especially weapons and ammunition).
Trial state prosecutor Missy Branham questioned Martin on how his brother was able to sleep through the shooting and why he left for Seattle after it happened. Martin’s answer was that his brother was a heavy sleeper and that he had been stationed in Seattle before.
Witnesses, who know of the couples past, told jurors that Martin had once threw a hammer at Bownes which broke a car window and left her with cuts from the glass. On another occasion Martin is accused of coming to Bownes workplace banging on the windows before he was asked to leave from the premises.
Martin, who was previously free on bond, was charged with second-degree murder and faces 15 to 25 years when he is sentenced in June.