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Man, now 30, testifies about the day his mother was slain in 1986

Posted Thursday, Jun. 30, 2011  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- Although he is now 30, Charles David "C.D." Martin III says he still carries the image of the stranger who visited his home the day his mother, Sandra Martin, was slain almost 25 years ago.

The man, who was short, white and balding, rang the doorbell and explained that he was looking to a buy a house for his daughter. Then 5, C.D. Martin said he followed his mom's instruction to put the family's dog outside, then followed his mother and the man as they looked around upstairs.

"I was underneath my mom's feet so she told me to go downstairs and watch TV," Martin recalled. "He had a measuring tape and measured the bedrooms."

As Martin watched television with his 2-year-old sister, his mother and the visitor came back downstairs and walked into the home's master bedroom.

The man later emerged alone, closing the bedroom door behind him.

"He said that your mom will be out in a few minutes. That she's cleaning herself up," Martin recalled.

It was the last time Martin saw his mother alive.

Prosecutors say Jay Thayer Williams, posing as a prospective home buyer, bound and fatally shot Sandra Martin inside the master bedroom while trying to sexually assault the woman inside her southwest Fort Worth home on Sept. 22, 1986.

Williams, now a 66-year-old Dallas real estate agent, is on trial in the 372nd District Court for capital murder in connection with Martin's slaying. He has pleaded not guilty.

1986 video interview

In addition to hearing C.D. Martin's recollections Wednesday, jurors also stepped back in time and watched a video of him being interviewed by a Tarrant County district attorney's investigator in October 1986 about his mother's slaying.

In the video, the boy with wavy blond hair occasionally squirms at a desk as he is asked about the visitor to his house that day. He describes the visitor as a white man in a white suit with combed-back black hair and a beard, though he later curled his finger over a doll's upper lip, indicating that he likely meant a mustache.

The boy tells the investigator that after the man left, his father called the home twice, wanting to speak to his wife.

"He asked me to go get my mom. I knocked on the door, but the door was locked," the boy says in the video.

In his testimony Wednesday, C.D. Martin said his father then came home, soon followed by police officers coming to the house.

He said he realized the fate of his mother when "I saw them wheel her out on a gurney."

Fingerprint evidence

Under cross examination, defense attorney Jim Shaw pointed out some of the discrepancies in C.D. Martin's recollection and what he said in the video from 1986, including the number of times the father had called (he now recollects once) and what the visitor told C.D. Martin before leaving (the videotaped interview did not include reference to Sandra Martin "cleaning up").

Shaw suggested in his questioning of C.D. Martin that, as a child, the son may have been lying or embellishing and that his mother may have known the visitor -- all allegations that C.D. Martin denied.

Earlier in the day, Jay Freed, a fingerprint examiner in the Fort Worth police crime lab, testified that six fingerprints found on duct tape removed from Martin's body matched Williams.

Specifically, Freed testified, Williams' left thumbprint matched five prints found on the tape -- four from tape that had been wrapped around Martin's head and one from tape around her left ankle.

A sixth print, found on an interior layer of tape taken from Martin's head, matched William's left little finger, he said.

Freed said he made the matches through comparing prints found on the duct tape with those of Williams that were taken by Temple police in 1983 after his arrest for driving with a suspended license.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

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