A Florida man is going through life in jail after a jury took a lower than a quarter-hour to seek out him responsible for homicide and arson following a three-day trial.
Asher Martin, a 22-year-old transient, was found guilty of second-degree murder and principal to arson. Making a Bay County jury deliberate for simply 13 minutes earlier than reaching a responsible verdict within the case.
Investigators said Asher Martin attacked and killed 23-year-old Christopher Whaley in April of last year. It was a hard night of partying.
Here’s what the Prosecutors said in a news release:
“Martin, 22, was found guilty of second-degree murder and principal to arson for nearly severing the victim’s head and placing the body in a van which was then set on fire in the woods about 4 miles from co-defendant Raven Gladin’s Ivydell Road home in Fountain.”
The prosecutor told the press what he was going to present to the jury way back in April of 2020.
According to State Attorney Larry Basford, when Martin slashed Whaley’s throat with a machete he “nearly” cut his head off. He then stuffed “the body in a van which he then set on fire.”
Police discovered the van “approximately four miles from the home of Martin’s codefendant, 26-year-old Raven Gladin.” She cut a deal and ratted on Martin.
She didn’t have to face a jury, pleading “no contest to accessory after the fact to second-degree murder and second-degree arson in exchange for her truthful testimony at Martin’s trial.” The most she will get is 10 years in prison.
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Once he heard the decision of the jury, Basford declared, the evidence of guilt in this case “was overwhelming,” as the speedy verdict indicates. Deputies with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office were alerted to the burning van by firefighters “who discovered a charred body inside.”
The Medical Examiner had no trouble diagnosing murder and was helpfully able to identify Whaley. “The victim’s throat had been cut and he sustained multiple stab wounds to his upper torso and back that penetrated both his heart and his lungs.”
Prosecutors outlined for the jury how “Whaley picked up Martin and Gladin in his van on April 26 and the group did drugs before driving around in search of more drugs.”
During the trial, testimony “revealed that in addition to using methamphetamine with the victim that day, Martin had smoked synthetic marijuana.” Spice may be “legal” but it’s a whole lot worse than the real thing. “After a potential drug deal in Panama City fell through,” investigators related, “Martin told Whaley to drive to a trail near Dickerson road and park the van.” That’s where he was killed.
“While still in the van, Martin struck a blow to Whaley from behind with a machete-like weapon.” The jury soon learned that “Whaley was able to get out of the van and tried to run away, but Martin caught up with him and continued to hack at him with the machete.” After dragging the body back to the van he “loaded Whaley into the back seat before he and Gladin drove to Gladin’s home.”
After a short break there, “Martin then left in the vehicle and returned approximately an hour later after abandoning the van in a wooded area near Camilia Street.” The loose ends must have bothered him. “The next day, Gladin reportedly purchased a container of gasoline and the two returned to the woods where they set the van on fire.”