Alleged gang leader granted bond in 2011 murder case

awomack@macon.comJanuary 16, 2014 

Bond was granted Thursday for an alleged gang leader accused in the July 2011 shooting death of a man outside Wings Cafe on Bloomfield Drive.

It’s unlikely, though, that Martin Kendall, 31, will be released from jail because of a separate charge stemming from a metal shank discovered under his mattress at the county jail last January.

Bibb County Superior Court Judge Philip Raymond heard bond arguments for both cases Thursday.

He denied bond on the contraband possession charge.

In his argument against Kendall getting bond, prosecutor Neil Halvorson said Kendall, who also is known by the name “Sawed Off,” is a leader in Macon’s Mafia gang and a documented gang member since 2005.

Kendall was charged in a 2000 murder case, but the charge was later dismissed because witnesses were uncooperative. Prosecutors have concerns the witnesses were intimidated by Kendall, who in 2005 was charged with influencing a witness in another case. The 2005 charge also was later dismissed, Halvorson said.

Rick Waller, Kendall’s lawyer, disputed allegations Kendall is a gang member and said Kendall’s nickname stems from his short stature.

If prosecutors were truly concerned Kendall influenced witnesses, they would have prosecuted him, Waller said.

Waller said Kendall wasn’t involved in 35-year-old Alfred Smith being shot multiple times outside Wings Cafe on July 25, 2011.

Authorities have said Smith was shot while sitting in his car in the parking lot. A second man, 20-year-old Akobeyan D. Howard, also is charged in the killing.

Halvorson said the GBI found DNA on the shank found in Kendall’s jail cell on Jan. 28, 2013.

When authorities served a search warrant last week to obtain DNA from inside Kendall’s cheek, it took six people to hold him as he fought against deputies. He bit and swallowed one of the swabs being used to collect the DNA, Halvorson said.

Halvorson said Kendall has made threatening statements to a deputy who recovered the shank.

“If Mr. Kendall is acting this way in the controlled environment of the law enforcement center, then the state has serious concerns about what his behavior would be out in the community,” he said.

Kendall is entitled to bond in the murder case because he has been in custody since October 2012 without an indictment.

In order for him to be released, he also must be granted a bond for the contraband possession charge.

If released, the judge ruled Kendall must abide by a 7 p.m. curfew and wear a GPS monitor.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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