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Winston-Salem Journal (NC)

November 30, 2000

Author: Sherry Wilson JOURNAL REPORTER[]

John Mesics was shot in his Dugspur home at such close range July 6, 1999, that gunpowder sprayed the left side of his mouth after shotgun pellets entered his brain.

His granddaughter, Robin Martin, is charged with first-degree murder.  She was 15 at the time and had been hospitalized twice for a week at a time for depression and bi-polar disorder, Martin testified yesterday. She took Prozac, she said.

On the night of the shooting, she became upset with Mesics, 80, and his wife, Arnetta, whom Martin said never approved of her friends and wouldn’t let her go to a Korn concert.

The 100-pound girl drank between four and six beers and injected a tranquilizer before taking Mesics’ double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun into his room. Usually she argued with her grandparents about being on the telephone too much. Sometimes Mesics made sexual comments, Martin testified. The night of the killing, Mesics told her that he would sexually abuse her if she ever came to his room, she said.

“I figured I would go get the gun and scare him,” said Martin, now 16. She said that the last thing she remembers that night was “Poppy” being awake and moving his hand toward his genitals.

Martin’s first-degree murder trial began yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court. Family members and friends dried their eyes during emotional testimony about Martin’s relationship with Mesics.

The prosecution and defense each concluded their arguments and the case was sent to the jury.

Martin, who was being raised by her grandparents, said she felt alone because Mesics and his wife weren’t her real parents. At a prosecutor’s request, she read passages she wrote in a school notebook that said that her grandparents should have let her go to movies more often.

She said they acted like the year was 1920. Giving her between $5 and $10 to go shopping for clothes was unrealistic, she said.

Prosecutor Gregory Goad showed jurors a drawing from that same notebook. Before Mesics’ death, Martin had sketched what she called “people in war.” The drawing portrayed someone holding a gun over a wounded person.

GOAD TOLD JURORS that Martin, who signed a confession hours after the shooting, knew what she was doing when she shot her grandfather.

While she was on the witness stand, Goad questioned her about the notebook and the anger that he said had built up against Mesics and his wife.

“The truth is you were just upset with your grandparents because you didn’t like how they were trying to discipline you,” he said.

Martin’s attorney, Timothy Tolbert, asked at one point during the trial that the first-degree murder charge be thrown out. Martin was under the influence of alcohol and drugs and there was no evidence that Martin planned the killing, Tolbert said. She only fired one shot, even though the gun was loaded with two shells, he said.

FOR A GUILTY VERDICT for first-degree murder, the jury has to find that Martin planned the killing and that it was willful and malicious. The jury can also find Martin not guilty or guilty of second-degree murder if it determines that Mesics’ killing wasn’t deliberate.

Martin is being tried as an adult. Because she is under 18, the jury’s only obligation is to determine whether she is guilty. If she is convicted, a judge would sentence her.

Martin is also charged with use of a firearm in commission of a felony, grand larceny of a firearm and grand larceny of Mesics’ Chevrolet Blazer.

Copyright (c) 2000 Winston-Salem Journal
Record Number:  0011300137