Valerie Dee Martin is on California Death Row for the murder of an elderly man. According to police reports Valerie Dee Martin, her sixteen year old son and his fourteen year old friend along with an ex convict planned the murder of the elderly man who would be found dead in the trunk of a car suffering from severe burns and trauma. Valerie Dee Martin would be charged and convicted of robbery and murder charges and would be sentenced to death
Valerie Dee Martin 2021 Information
|MARTIN, VALERIE DEE
|Central California Women’s Facility
|Parole Eligible Date (Month/Year)
Valerie Dee Martin Other News
Jennifer A. Mannix, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.
Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Pamela C. Hamanaka, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Steven D. Matthews and G. Tracey Letteau, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Defendant Ronald Ray Kupsch III appeals from a judgment of conviction entered after a jury found him guilty of first degree murder (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a)) and found true the allegations that the murder was committed by means of lying in wait, during the course of a robbery, and during the course of a kidnapping (id., § 190.2, subd. (a)). Defendant was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime (id., § 182, subd. (a)(1)), with the jury finding one or more of the alleged overt acts to be true. In addition, the jury found him guilty of robbery (id., § 211), kidnapping to commit a crime (id., § 209, subd. (b)(1)), and arson causing great bodily injury (id., § 451, subd. (a)).
The trial court sentenced defendant to life without the possibility of parole for the murder and imposed a concurrent indeterminate term of 25 years to life in prison for the conspiracy. It imposed a concurrent indeterminate term of 15 years to life in prison for the kidnapping and a concurrent term of 9 years for the arson causing great bodily injury, and it stayed a determinate term of three years for the robbery. The court also imposed five $30 fines under Government Code section 70373; a $40 penalty assessment under Government Code section 76000.5, subdivision (a); a DNA penalty assessment of $40 under Government Code section 76104.6, subdivision (a)(1); and a $140 penalty assessment under Government Code section 76704.7.
On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on voluntary intoxication, abused its discretion in sentencing defendant to life without the possibility of parole, failed to stay the sentences for arson and kidnapping to commit robbery, and erred in imposing certain assessments. We agree that the assessments under Government Code sections 76000.5, subdivision (a), 76104.6, subdivision (a)(1), and 76104.7 must be stricken. In all other respects, we affirm.
In February of 2003, William Whiteside (Whiteside) was living in a mobile home with Valerie Dee Martin (Martin), defendant, who is her son, and defendant’s pregnant girlfriend, Jessica Buchanan (Buchanan). Whiteside and Martin worked at Antelope Valley Hospital. Defendant was a White supremacist and associated with other White supremacists, including Donovan Casey (Casey), Bradley Zoda (Zoda), Christopher Kennedy (Kennedy), and Stewart Smith (Smith). Whiteside’s racial background was non-White and defendant did not like him because of his race. Defendant, his mother, girlfriend, and other friends were all methamphetamine users.
On the morning of February 27, 2003, Zoda came over to Whiteside’s mobile home “to get high.” While Zoda, defendant, Buchanan, Valerie Dee Martin, and Kennedy were in a room talking and smoking methamphetamine, Martin said that she owed a $300 debt to “some Mexicans” for methamphetamine and if she did not pay, the “Mexicans” would come over. The group discussed options to repay the debt, including stealing cars. While Buchanan was in another room, Kennedy asked Zoda if he was “down with it,” and they discussed robbing Valerie Dee Martin’s “old man.” It was decided that they would go to the Antelope Valley Hospital parking lot, and Zoda would “jump” Whiteside and take his wallet when he got off work.
Around 9:00 p.m., Valerie Dee Martin drove Kennedy, Zoda, and defendant to the hospital. When they arrived and located Whiteside’s car, it was determined that the vehicle was too close to the street and there would be too many witnesses. Valerie Dee Martin suggested an alternate plan. She would drop the other three at “Suge’s”1 mobile home, call Whiteside and ask him to pick them up on his way home from work. The three were dropped off at Suge’s mobile home and smoked methamphetamine.
When Kennedy informed defendant and Zoda that Whiteside was near the mobile home, they left to meet him. Defendant carried a wooden stick and Kennedy carried a red aluminum bat. Kennedy entered the right rear passenger seat of Whiteside’s car, Zoda entered the passenger seat behind Whiteside, and defendant entered the right front passenger seat. Kennedy and defendant began striking Whiteside with the stick and bat. Zoda got out of the car, went to the driver’s window and began striking Whiteside with his fists. Whiteside was struck approximately 28 to 29 times and was rendered unconscious. Kennedy took Whiteside’s wallet; defendant and Kennedy then placed Whiteside in the car’s trunk. Kennedy drove them around until they got lost.
While they were driving around, they heard a noise coming from the trunk and realized that Whiteside had opened the trunk. Kennedy stopped the car; defendant got out and closed the trunk. Whiteside was able to open the trunk a second time. Kennedy got out of the car with defendant and he beat Whiteside with the stick. They closed the trunk and drove around in an effort to find a familiar landmark.
Defendant called his mother and asked her to bring gasoline. When Valerie Dee Martin arrived, Kennedy took the gasoline container and began to dump gasoline all over the car. Defendant lit the gasoline on fire. Defendant accidently burned Kennedy.
They returned to Whiteside’s mobile home. Defendant, Kennedy, and Zoda took off their clothes and placed them in a trash bag. Defendant took off his skater shoes with red laces and placed them in the trash bag. After awhile, everyone went to Kennedy’s residence, where they smoked some drugs.
Later the same morning, several deputies, including Kennedy’s uncle, a reserve deputy, came to the residence and arrested Kennedy for a probation violation. Defendant, Valerie Dee Martin, Zoda, and Buchanan left and drove to Rebecca King’s mobile home. Casey, a leader of a skinhead gang, was there.
After defendant told Casey what they had done to Whiteside, defendant and Casey left in Valerie Dee Martin’s car, and defendant obtained money from an ATM using Whiteside’s bank card. Upon their return, defendant gave Martin some money. Casey also accompanied Martin to a check cashing business, so she could wire someone money. Later that evening, defendant went to Smith’s house with Zoda. Defendant, driving Whiteside’s car, drove Smith to Whiteside’s mobile home. While at the mobile home, Smith said that they needed to leave because Whiteside was coming home. Defendant told Smith, “Bill’s not coming in. We killed him.” He also showed Smith his two “M” tattoos on the back of his neck.2
Defendant stayed in a motel for a few days. During that time, he told the details of the murder to Smith. At some point, defendant, Zoda and Smith went to a dumpster and burned the plastic bag containing the bloody clothes. Prior to burning the clothes, defendant had Zoda take his black skater shoes out of the bag. The shoes did not have any laces. When Zoda was arrested, he was wearing the shoes. When defendant was arrested, he was wearing the red shoe laces on a pair of white tennis shoes.3 Red was a sign of White supremacy.
On February 28, 2003, a burned-out vehicle was discovered. There was a lighter and a bat near the vehicle. Inside the trunk, Whiteside’s remains were discovered. Much of the body had burned away. A partially melted aluminum bat was recovered from the floorboard. An autopsy was conducted and the immediate cause of death was determined to be smoke inhalation and burns to the body. There were also fractures to Whiteside’s skull which would have been fatal in less than an hour.
When Whiteside failed to report to work, his former spouse, Tunda Curry (Curry), called Bank of America and inquired about any ATM transaction on their joint account. On March 3 or 4, Curry contacted Valerie Dee Martin and told her someone had used Whiteside’s ATM card, and photos of the transaction had been requested of the bank.4
After Valerie Dee Martin’s conversation with Curry, she called defendant in an effort to distance herself from any involvement in the murder. The conversation was recorded, and Martin acted like she had no idea what had happened to Whiteside. Defendant was upset because he knew that the police would have pictures from the ATM showing him making a withdrawal.
On March 10, 2003, defendant’s girlfriend, Buchanan, was interviewed by Detective Kennedy. She indicated that on February 27, 2003, she was in Whiteside’s trailer and heard defendant talking on the phone. Defendant stated that he needed to get $300 for his mother and “was going to go whack Bill to get the money.”
Buchanan said that she went to sleep and when she woke up, defendant, Kennedy, Zoda, and Valerie Dee Martin were inside the mobile home. They left and went to Kennedy’s home. They parked in the garage and a white pillowcase was taken out of the car. At one point, inside Kennedy’s house, she saw blood on defendant’s hands. She also saw blood on Kennedy’s arms.
Buchanan stated that three days later, defendant and Zoda went back for the white pillowcase and “torched” it. Thereafter, defendant got a swastika and two M’s tattooed on the back of his neck. The tattoo meant that defendant had killed someone of a different race.
Three to four days after the incident, defendant told Buchanan that he killed Whiteside by putting Whiteside in the back of Whiteside’s car and “beat[ing] the hell out of him.” Defendant gave her the details of the incident, including the beating, arson, and getting money from the ATM using Whiteside’s bank card. He said that he killed Whiteside because he never liked him, Whiteside yelled at his mother, Whiteside was of the “opposite race” and defendant was a skinhead. Buchanan also recounted details of the phone conversation defendant had with his mother.