Husband recounts being shot as attempted murder trial begins

Defense says then-wife was unable to form intent

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Sometime between the first two gunshots and the second two shots being fired, Eddie Martin said his wife yelled, “If I can’t have you, nobody can.”

He had been lying in a bed in his camper. She came in, he said, and fired two shots into his legs. Minutes later, she returned — this time shooting his arm, he said.

“I figured that was where I was going to die,” Martin, 54, testified Tuesday. “I didn’t really think I had much hope.”

Eddie Martin received medical care after Sheryl J. Martin of Ridgefield called 911 moments following the Sept. 8, 2007, shooting, and he was rushed to Southwest Washington Medical Center.

He was the state’s star witness in Sheryl Martin’s first-degree attempted murder trial in Clark County Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson’s courtroom. The trial started Monday with jury selection; opening statements followed Tuesday. Eddie Martin took the stand later in the day.

While paramedics estimated he lost 40 percent of his blood and he later underwent numerous surgeries, Martin did not show any physical signs of injury Tuesday besides loss of mobility in his elbow.

Dispute over affair

Now divorced from his wife of 30 years, Eddie Martin spoke openly about what preceded the shooting.

After he and his wife drank alcohol and smoked marijuana together, she went to bed and “I brought (my cell phone) in my shop and e-mailed a friend of mine,” he said.

“It’s important for this case that you explain the nature of this friendship. Was this a platonic relationship?” Senior Deputy Prosecutor John Fairgrieve pressed.

“No. She was a basically a girlfriend I was having an affair with,” he answered.

Meanwhile, as the prosecution earlier alleged, Sheryl Martin had looked out the window, noticed her husband text messaging and came to the shop on their property to confront him.

“She asked to see my phone,” Eddie Martin said. “I didn’t give it to her.”

“Why is that?,” Fairgrieve asked.

“I didn’t want her to know who I was e-mailing,” he said.

Eddie Martin said that his wife began tearing up the inside of his shop, trying to find the phone, and throwing items. He finally confessed to the affair and “she got really upset,” he said.

“Was there any talk of divorce?,” Fairgrieve said.

“Um, probably. There were a lot of things we talked about,” he said.

After a fight that involved wrestling items out of Sheryl Martin’s hands, he said she left and he went to sleep in a camper on the property.

“I figured it was better than going in the house,” Eddie Martin said.

Later, after he was falling asleep, “I’m waking up to my leg feeling like it’s on fire,” he said.

“I started yelling at her that she made her point and to call 911,” Eddie Martin added. “I remember her saying something like, ‘If I can’t have you, nobody can.’ “

She returned, he said, firing two more shots at him with his 16-gauge double-barrelled shotgun.

“I was thinking I was going to die,” he said.

The next thing Eddie Martin remembered was hearing a police officer shout outside the camper to his wife, “Drop the gun,” and then rush inside to treat him.

‘Hell hath no fury’

Before Eddie Martin’s testimony, Fairgrieve told jurors in his opening statement that the allegations are a modern-day representation of the saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

“I want you to think of that term as you review the evidence,” he said.

There is no dispute Sheryl Martin was the shooter. A taped 911 call in which she confessed flatly, “Yeah, I just shot my husband,” took care of that.

Instead, her attorney, David McDonald, is arguing his client’s history of depression and histrionic personality disorder, or a disorder in which a person overreacts to get attention — compounded by the stress of finding out about her husband’s infidelity — prevented her from forming intent to kill or seriously injure her husband.

The attorney said he will call a psychologist to the stand to testify about Martin’s diminished capacity, or inability to form legal intent.

McDonald said his client dissociated from reality after learning about the affair. She never intended to hurt her husband — someone she loved even though they had an up-and-down marriage, he said. She tried to exude the impression she had a perfect home life and marriage.

“She idolized him,” he said. “She couldn’t believe there would be anyone else but him.”

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516 or laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.