Crime

Jury expected to begin deliberations Thursday in Monroe County slayings

Marquez Deshawn Martin looks back at the gallery in court Monday. Martin is on trial for the May 6, 2013, Monroe County killing of Russell Jacobs, 36, and James Pittman Wood, 40.
Marquez Deshawn Martin looks back at the gallery in court Monday. Martin is on trial for the May 6, 2013, Monroe County killing of Russell Jacobs, 36, and James Pittman Wood, 40. wmarshall@macon.com

FORSYTH -- Jury deliberations are expected to begin Thursday in the trial of a Bibb County man charged with killing two men in south Monroe County.

Marquez Deshawn Martin, 21, is charged with murder in the May 7, 2013, shooting deaths of brothers-in-law James Pittman Wood, 40, and Russell Jacobs, 36.

Witnesses have testified that a group of four people, including Martin, offered Wood and Jacobs a ride home from a gas station on the north end of Riverside Drive in Bibb County after the men’s truck broke down.

Later, at Wood’s home on Woods Drive near the Bibb-Monroe county line, the men were robbed and fatally shot.

Prosecutors have contended that Martin ended a fight between Wood and 21-year-old Jordan Keaugh Maxwell by pointing a gun at Wood. Wood and Maxwell had been fighting over a gun after Maxwell shot Jacobs.

Once free, Maxwell shot Wood.

Martin’s lawyers have maintained that Martin didn’t know Maxwell intended to shoot Wood and he only participated in taking items from the house because Maxwell told him to do so while holding a gun.

The trial began Monday. Prosecutors finished presenting their case late Wednesday afternoon.

Martin chose not to testify in his own defense.

Several witnesses called to testify by the defense told jurors about Martin’s character, describing him as a “hard working,” kind person.

One of the witnesses, Martin’s mother, said he “is a good child” who “wouldn’t hurt anybody.”

While holding a job at Publix, he was going to technical school at the time of his arrest and had hopes of joining the Marine Corps, she said.

Two of Martin’s co-defendants, 18-year-old Sameeria R. Carter and 20-year-old Dave’von Sapp, have testified as part of plea bargains with prosecutors.

Maxwell pleaded guilty to being the person who pulled the trigger, killing both men, and he is serving two life sentences.

Authorities have said Martin, Maxwell, Sapp and Carter have ties to Macon’s Money Over Everything street gang.

Sapp testified early in the trial that the group had participated in other robberies while riding around that day in Martin’s car with Martin behind the wheel.

Seeing Wood and Jacobs walking beside the road and heading into the Marathon station, they targeted the the men for another crime, Sapp said.

Martin faces four counts of murder, a count of armed robbery, a count of aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and three counts of violating the state’s gang act.

Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday morning.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.

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