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Posted on: October 30, 2023

Commonwealth v. Joseph A. Martin

Man Sentenced to 12 Years Following Jury Conviction for Attacking, Robbing Woman and Her Boyfriend at Gunpoint and Guilty Plea To Possessing a Firearm as a Felon

NORFOLK, Va. – Joseph Antonio Martin, 36, was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court on Friday to 10 years in prison for the robbery and malicious wounding of a woman and for the robbery of her boyfriend.

On Aug. 9, 2020, Mr. Martin arrived at a woman’s home on the 800 block of Smith Street. Mr. Martin was very angry and demanded that the woman give him another man’s phone number and some money. Inside the home and armed with a handgun, Mr. Martin repeatedly attacked the woman, hitting her in the head with his gun, pushing her down a flight of stairs, and hitting her with a lamp, resulting in various severe injuries to her neck, ribs, back, hip, and arms.

During the encounter, the woman’s boyfriend arrived at the house and interrupted the attack. Mr. Martin, still armed, then took the man to a nearby convenience store and violently forced the man retrieve money from an ATM. Video surveillance footage from the store showed Mr. Martin entering the store behind the man, Mr. Martin standing over the man at the ATM, and Mr. Martin kicking and yelling at the man while brandishing his gun.

Mr. Martin is a previously convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

On Aug. 20, 2020, Norfolk Police patrol officers apprehended Mr. Martin for his outstanding warrants connected to the Aug. 9 malicious wounding and robbery. Mr. Martin attempted to flee and, when he was caught after a short foot pursuit, was found to have narcotics on his person.

A Norfolk jury convicted Mr. Martin on Nov. 22, 2022, of malicious wounding, robbery and using a firearm in the commission of robbery. On Dec. 8, Mr. Martin pleaded guilty to possessing a controlled substance. 

On June 29, Mr. Martin also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to an active prison sentence of two years.

On Friday, Judge Tasha D. Scott sentenced Mr. Martin to 33 years in prison, with 23 years suspended on the conditions that Mr. Martin cannot contact the victims and that he complete 10 years of uniform good behavior and five years of supervised probation. Mr. Martin’s total active prison sentence is 12 years.

“It is unclear why Mr. Martin was so angry, but his violent and unprovoked attacks on these victims is both frightening and worthy of a serious sanction,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “People should be safe in their homes and safe from harm. Mr. Martin has earned his sentence.”

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle L. Newkirk prosecuted Mr. Martin’s case on behalf of the Commonwealth, Norfolk Police Detective Mark Lowery investigated the malicious wounding and robbery case, and retired Norfolk Police Detective Leldon Sapp investigated the possession of controlled substances case.

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