© 2023 WGLT
NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Woman testifies about abuse during McLean County child porn trial

Courts graphic
WGLT file photo
/

Jurors considering child pornography charges against Jeffrey Martin heard testimony Tuesday from an elderly woman who described the abuse she said she suffered during the 18 months Martin stayed at her home in Normal.

“If I refused to do something, he didn’t hesitate to throw something at me or physically abuse me,” said the woman who is also the accuser in a pending sexual assault case against Martin.

Moving slowly into the courtroom with the aid of a cane, the woman spent 90 minutes answering questions from prosecutor Kirk Shoenbein, and Martin, who is serving as his own lawyer.

Martin, of Normal, continued his pattern of interrupting the proceedings and hurling insults at the judge and prosecutor. Starting on Tuesday, however, Judge Bill Yoder began issuing contempt citations to Martin for misconduct. By the end of the day, Martin had accumulated 17 contempt charges.

The state called the 86-year-old woman to testify about the computer she purchased for Martin, a device police seized from her home after finding suspected child pornography on the machine.

“The only person who ever used that computer was Jefferey Martin,” the woman testified.

The woman recalled the day in January 2016 when she first told authorities about Martin’s refusal to leave her home. (She said she offered him an overnight stay when he was released from jail in 2015, and he never left.)

Martin was driving her car in Champaign, she said, when he crashed into another vehicle and left the accident scene. After he was arrested, she told police about Martin. The Champaign officer “gave me the confidence to say everything I wanted and finally make a break,” the woman testified.

Martin opened his questioning of the woman by telling her she looked “beautiful.” His inquiry focused on the financial help she provided, including her willingness to post bond six times. She also purchased two lawn tractors, a computer and clothing. When Martin asked her to confirm that she had accompanied him to a court appearance, she responded, “I also had a black eye that day. I think I was insane at the time.”

The trial is expected to conclude Wednesday with the state calling Dr. Channing Petrak with the Pediatric Resource Center as its final witness.

Martin has indicated he may testify during the defense portion of the trial.

We depend on your support to keep telling stories like this one. You – together with NPR donors across the country – create a more informed public. Fact by fact, story by story. Please take a moment to donate now and fund the local news our community needs. Your support truly makes a difference.

Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
Related Content