On July 1, court observers were stunned when a jury declared an Oceanside man not guilty of two charges, even though the defendant took the witness box and admitted shooting two persons.
The jury foreman said that everyone on the jury agreed that a crime had been committed, but the panel of 7 men and 5 women could not agree on exactly what that crime was.
Diego Arturo Martinez, now 22, was declared not guilty of first degree murder, as charged for the fatal shooting of Robert Robbins, 47, the night of August 30, 2012. The jury was split on whether Martinez was guilty of second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, according to the jury foreman.
During a two-week trial, the prosecutor presented evidence that Martinez shot two persons who were seated in a truck on the street outside his home, located in the 4700 block of Calle Solimar, in Oceanside.
The person behind the wheel of the truck, Lisa Badgett, 51, survived being shot in her face and arm, and she was the first person to testify on June 16, when the trial began.
The jury foreman said the panel was impressed with a video recording of Martinez, in which he is seen and heard telling Oceanside police: “I never meant to shoot her.” The jury was convinced that the defendant “accidentally shot” Lisa Badgett, the foreman said.
So Martinez was not found guilty of any charge.
Badgett was present to hear the verdicts and reportedly left the courtroom in tears. Prosecutor David Bost described the survivor as “disappointed” and said, “I expect to re-file, yes.”
While the district attorney’s office considers which charges to re-file against Martinez, the defendant remains in custody. To avoid double jeopardy, Martinez will not be charged with first-degree murder again; it will be second-degree murder or something else.