Try 1 month for $5

BLOOMINGTON — A man who acted as his own lawyer during a three-day trial was convicted Wednesday of aggravated battery of a Walmart worker during a 2015 incident at the Normal store. 

Jeffrey Martin was escorted out of the courtroom Wednesday after he raised his voice during a discussion with Judge Scott Drazewski about evidence the defendant wanted to show jurors. When he returned to the courtroom after 10 minutes, Martin told the judge, “I have diminished capacity and I’m being provoked.”

Martin was accused of striking store employee Michael Colbert after becoming agitated because his girlfriend had experienced an extended wait at the sporting goods counter to purchase ammunition.

Assistant State's Attorney Kristin Alferink told jurors in her closing arguments that "Walmart is not on trial here."

A surveillance video of the incident showed the altercation, said the prosecutor, and Martin's aggressive demeanor toward the store worker.

After the verdict, Alferink thanked the jury for its patience and attention during the trial.

"We are glad the victim was afforded justice. No individual should have to feel unsafe at work," said the prosecutor, who handled the case with Assistant State's Attorney Jacob Harlow.

In a closing argument filled with remarks unrelated to his case, Martin claimed that the video had been altered.

"This is gonna be a defining moment in history for all of us. This is wrong," Martin told jurors.

The trial was marked by lengthy, rambling statements by Martin, who acknowledged he has a long history of mental illness. Sitting at a table covered with documents, Martin followed through with his decision to dismiss his public defender and represent himself.

On Tuesday, Martin sat on the floor of the courtroom for more than two hours as he questioned the victim and played the video for the jury. After the  exchange, the judge ordered Martin back to the defense table.

“This is not a slumber party,” the judge told Martin.

The judge helped Martin understand legal concepts and prosecutors assisted the defendant with his efforts to play portions of the surveillance video for the jury.

Martin also faces more serious felony charges of possession of child pornography and aggravated criminal sexual assault in unrelated 2016 incidents. He told Drazewski that he intends to represent himself in those cases.

A Jan. 31 sentencing hearing is scheduled on the aggravated battery charges.

Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny


McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.

Comments disabled.