After seven years, the first-degree murder trial for a man accused of killing his 5-year-old son in an Ahwatukee Foothills apartment is finally under way.
Jeffrey Martinson is accused of killing Joshua Eberle-Martinson after a weekend visitation in August of 2004. Martinson has been in jail since then but the trial has undergone many delays due to unprepared defense attorneys. Now, seven years later, Martinson has been assigned a private attorney, Michael Terribile, his fifth set of legal counsel, and the trial has finally begun.
On Monday, Aug. 15, Joshua's mother, Kristin Eberle, took the stand. Eberle was questioned for an entire day about the many orders of protection she filed and was granted against Martinson in the years leading up to the death of her son.
Eberle was asked to review police reports and documentation she created of her interaction with Martinson. Eberle recorded through audio recordings, emails written to herself and video her exchanges with Martinson when Joshua was dropped off for visitations. She broke down in tears when video of her son was shown in court.
Eberle won all of the motions she filed in court in 2003 and 2004 but Martinson was still allowed to have his son for a weekend visit.
As reported on Nov. 4, 2009 by the Ahwatukee Foothills News, police said that Joshua was found dead on the top bunk of a bedroom in his father's apartment on Aug. 24, 2004. Martinson was discovered in a nearby bedroom, unconscious with cuts on his wrists. Around the apartment police found empty prescription bottles, over-the-counter medicine, an empty liquor bottle and plastic bags that may have been used to suffocate the child.
Martinson told police he attempted suicide and passed out on that Saturday night in 2004. He told police that when he awoke on Sunday he discovered his son dead and tried to commit suicide a second time. A neighbor told police that Martinson had sent her a text message saying: "We love you and will miss you."
An outside laboratory tested Joshua's blood at the time of death and found toxic levels of Soma, a muscle relaxer. Martinson's past attorney, Jim Cleary, bogged down the prosecutor's office with requests for documents, including maintenance records and service manuals for all the laboratory equipment used in that laboratory.
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