David Martin Florida Death Row
On August 15, 2008, a grand jury indicted the appellant, David James
Martin, on one count of first-degree murder and one count of armed
robbery for the homicide of Jacey McWilliams
March 13, 2008, Christine McWilliams called police to report that her
daughter, Jacey McWilliams, was missing. Mrs. McWilliams was concerned
because she had just learned that Jacey had not reported to work for two
days, which was out of character for her daughter. Law enforcement
began trying to trace Jacey’s movements since the last time she was
seen, two days earlier on March 11, while working for the service
department at a car dealership. Law enforcement determined that the last
time Jacey used her cellular phone was when she placed a phone call to
her mother at 9:22 p.m. on March 11. During that conversation, Jacey
informed her mother that she was out with a friend named David.While
at work on March 11, Jacey told a coworker that she would be spending
the evening with David, who had planned a special night for them. The
coworker had met Martin before as she, the coworker’s fiancé, Jacey, and
Martin had gone out to play pool together a few weeks prior to March
11. The evidence revealed that after work on March 11, Jacey drove to
Martin’s residence in Jacksonville, picked him up, and the pair headed
to Black Creek in Middleburg, Florida. At that time, and relevant to
this case, Martin did not own a car.
On March 17, four days after
Jacey was reported missing, a police officer arrested Martin at a
Wal–Mart in Pinellas County for shoplifting. After Martin was
transported to the Pinellas County Jail, officers from the Clay County
Sheriff’s Office who were looking for Jacey coordinated their search
efforts with officers from the Pinellas Park Police Department, who
confirmed that they had found Martin with Jacey’s car. Three days later,
on March 20, detectives from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office convened at the Pinellas County Jail to
question Martin about Jacey’s whereabouts. A third officer from the Clay
County Sheriff’s Office monitored the video that recorded Martin’s
Detectives Ken West of the Clay County Sheriff’s
Office and Brian Wolcott of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office questioned
Martin. At this point in the investigation and interview, the
detectives did not know whether Jacey was alive or dead. During trial,
Detective West testified that his and Detective Wolcott’s primary
objective in questioning Martin was to determine Jacey’s whereabouts. At
the beginning of the interview, the detectives read Martin his Miranda1 rights, which he waived.
explanation of the last time he had been with Jacey evolved over the
course of the interview. Initially, Martin stated that Jacey picked him
up from his home in Jacksonville, and then, after spending the evening
together, Martin dropped her off at her home, which was also located in
Jacksonville. Martin stated that Jacey had given him permission to
borrow her car to visit his girlfriend, and that he paid Jacey $50 in
return. After taking Jacey home, Martin explained to the detectives that
he then drove to St. Petersburg to spend time with his girlfriend.
After a visit of two days, March 12–13, in St. Petersburg, Martin
returned to Jacksonville. Before returning to see his girlfriend in St.
Petersburg a second time, Martin went to his residence and packed all of
his belongings into Jacey’s car because Martin and his girlfriend were
planning to move to Georgia together soon thereafter.
the interview, Martin’s story changed. Martin told detectives that
Jacey had not loaned him her car to visit his girlfriend. Rather, she
was unwilling to do so, and, as a result, a verbal altercation ensued.
Martin said that he pushed Jacey out of her car and left her behind at
Black Creek. He said that when he left in her car, she was alive.
story continued to shift, and after approximately three-and-a-half
hours of interviewing, Martin confessed to murdering Jacey. He said that
on the evening in question he and Jacey were smoking cigarettes near
Johns Cemetery Road in Middleburg, Florida, when he told Jacey that he
was going to get another cigarette from the car. While at this location,
Martin was also communicating with his girlfriend on his cellular
phone, who he said was “freaking out ․ because [he] wasn’t home.” Martin
said that he felt overwhelmed by his girlfriend’s “hurt” and he, in
response, attacked Jacey. Rather than obtaining a cigarette from the car
as Martin told Jacey he would, Martin retrieved a hammer and then used
it to strike Jacey in the head multiple times. He stated that after the
first blow, Jacey fell and appeared to be unconscious. He admitted that
he continued to strike her, but was unsure of how many blows he
inflicted. He described the incident as “a blur” and said that he
“blacked out” while he attacked her. Martin then pulled Jacey, now
deceased, into the bushes and departed in Jacey’s car. Martin said that
he threw the hammer, along with Jacey’s phone, into a river.
told the detectives where he left Jacey’s remains and then drew a map
of the area for them. Shortly thereafter her body was located in the
area Martin had described just off Johns Cemetery Road. The forensic
pathologist who performed the autopsy on Jacey described her as being in
an “advanced stage of postmortem decomposition.”
that he killed Jacey because the “woman that [he] loved with all [his]
heart was hurt so bad” and he had to go to her. Martin and his
girlfriend had been exchanging calls and texts throughout the day. His
girlfriend stated, and Martin confirmed, that she was concerned that
Martin was pursuing a relationship with Jacey.
After Martin killed
Jacey, bank records and video surveillance revealed that Martin used
Jacey’s ATM card at a Domino’s Pizza and attempted to withdraw cash from
her account. After the attack, Martin drove to his girlfriend’s home in
St. Petersburg, arriving around 3 a.m. the next morning, March 12. She
described Martin’s arrival as unexpected, and said that Martin seemed
“very happy” and was “giddy” and “smiling.” During this visit to St.
Petersburg, Martin drove his girlfriend to and from her job at a grocery
store and slept at rest stops in Jacey’s car. That same day, Martin
drove back to Jacksonville, and then returned to his girlfriend’s home
two days later, on March 14.
His girlfriend testified that before
Martin arrived at her residence in St. Petersburg, she and Martin had
joked about how he could visit her given that he did not own a car. His
girlfriend testified that the following exchange took place:
STATE: Did the defendant say anything to you about how not having a car he could possibly get down to see you?
There was one point in time where we were just joking around with each
other and he said, well, you know, I can just steal a car and I said,
okay, well, how are you going to do that and he said, well, that’s easy.
I’ll just kill them.
STATE: Now that conversation, was that two or three days before he actually showed up at your house?
GIRLFRIEND: It was very shortly before․
After he said those words to you, well, that’s easy, I’ll just kill
them, did you say anything back to him, joking back towards him?
STATE: What did you say back?
GIRLFRIEND: I made a comment that—I told him a good place to hide a body is—and I told him a cemetery.
confirmed that a similar exchange about stealing a car occurred as
well, although he denied that any comments about killing someone were
Various experts testified as to what they found at the crime
scene and the state of Jacey’s remains. A senior crime laboratory
technician for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement testified that
he found a cigarette butt, a white blanket, a suspected blood stain on
the ground, a pair of eyeglasses, two flip-flops, and loose change
strewn about the area where Jacey’s body was located. The laboratory
technician also testified that Jacey’s shirt and sweatshirt were pulled
up over her head, which suggested to him that Jacey’s body had been
dragged to the area where police found it. The pockets in Jacey’s pants
were also turned inside out.
A forensic pathologist testified that
Jacey’s skull was cut and exhibited numerous fractures. Although the
forensic pathologist was unable to estimate how many blows Jacey had
suffered, a forensic anthropologist testified that based on her
examination and reconstruction of Jacey’s skull (which comprised more
than thirty-three fragments), Jacey was hit at least seven times. The
anthropologist likened the blows to those she had seen at mass
fatalities or car accidents. The forensic pathologist and anthropologist
confirmed that Jacey died from blunt trauma to the head, and that
injuries to her brain triggered a hemorrhage that resulted in death. The
forensic anthropologist explained that based on the type of trauma
Jacey suffered, she was hit by an object with a “curvilinear edge” that
was “delivered with great force to the cranium.” The pathologist opined
that Jacey was hit with a hammer. Although a hammer was recovered from
Jacey’s vehicle, it tested negative for blood. As noted previously,
Martin stated during the police interrogation that he threw the hammer
used to kill Jacey into a river.
Against the advice of counsel,
Martin testified on his own behalf. He denied killing Jacey and claimed
that another man, an acquaintance who was Martin’s drug dealer, had
killed Jacey in his presence. Martin testified that on the night of
Jacey’s murder, he and Jacey went to his drug dealer’s residence. The
drug dealer instructed that he and Jacey follow him to Johns Cemetery
Road. Martin stated that once the three of them arrived at that
location, the drug dealer pressured Martin to engage in sexual activity
with him, but before this transpired, the trio became involved in a
fight. Martin said that his drug dealer had previously forced him to
perform sexual acts during prior drug exchanges between the two men.
During the ensuing tussle, Martin stated that his dealer struck Jacey
with a hammer, killing her, and then told Martin to “drag her body
away.” Martin said that he dragged Jacey’s body to the bushes and
covered her face with a white blanket. He said that his dealer told him
to get rid of the hammer used to kill Jacey, so Martin threw it into a
river on his way back to Jacksonville from St. Petersburg after visiting
his girlfriend. Martin testified that he falsely confessed to the crime
because his dealer, the actual murderer, had threatened to hurt his
(Martin’s) mother and girlfriend if he told anyone what had happened.
Martin said that at the time police interviewed him, he still feared for
his mother’s and girlfriend’s safety. At trial, Martin did not have any
other witnesses testify on his behalf. The jury found Martin guilty of
one count of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery.
David Martin 2019 Information
|Name:||MARTIN, DAVID J|
|Initial Receipt Date:||03/18/2010|
|Current Facility:||UNION C.I.|
|Current Release Date:||DEATH SENTENCE|