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Joaquin Jose Martinez

Other Florida Cases with Perjury or False Accusations
On October 31, 1995, 26-year-old Douglas Lawson and 26-year-old Sherry McCoy-Ward were found dead in their home in Tampa, Florida. Lawson had been shot three times, while McCoy-Ward had been shot and stabbed.

A medical examiner determined that the two had been dead for approximately 24 to 72 hours. No forensic evidence that pointed to a suspect was found at the scene, and for three months, police made little progress on the case.
Then the police received a call from Sloane Martinez, who claimed that her ex-husband, 23-year-old Joaquin Jose Martinez, had suggested to her that he’d been involved in the murders. The couple had recently divorced, but continued a turbulent on-again, off-again relationship.

The day that Sloane Martinez contacted the police, she had just learned that Joaquin Jose Martinez planned to skip a visit with their two daughters to go on vacation with his new fiancée. After meeting with police in person, Sloane agreed to let them put recording devices on her phone and in her apartment while she got him to implicate himself in the murders. Based on information gathered in these conversations, police arrested Martinez on January 28, 1996. 
At trial in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, the prosecution played recordings of their conversations, but it was so difficult to understand what was said that the jury was given a transcript of the recordings. The transcript had been edited by Lawson’s father, who worked at the sheriff’s department.

Prosecutors also presented testimony from five jailhouse informants, all of whom said that Martinez had discussed his involvement in the murders with them. The informants claimed that they received nothing in exchange for their testimony.

Martinez was convicted and sentenced to death on April 15, 1997. 
On appeal, the Florida Supreme Court remanded the case for retrial, based on prosecutorial misconduct in presenting evidence that prejudiced the jury, including a detective’s testimony saying that he believed Martinez was guilty. During a re-investigation of the case, the informants all admitted that detectives had promised them rewards for their testimony.
The second trial was a markedly different affair. The defense introduced new alibi testimony, and neither Sloane Martinez nor any of the jailhouse snitches were called to the stand, as all had since recanted their previous testimony. Martinez was acquitted on June 6, 2001.
– Alexandra Gross

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Burglary/Unlawful Entry
Reported Crime Date:1995
Age at the date of reported crime:23
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No