Fort Worth

Southlake woman feared estranged husband, who is now accused of killing her

A 2004 photograph of Linda Martin, who at the time lived in Euless with her husband.
A 2004 photograph of Linda Martin, who at the time lived in Euless with her husband. Star-Telegram archives

Linda Martin was so scared of her estranged husband, who she told friends had threatened to kill her, that she carried two guns wherever she went, had hired a protective service and had stayed at hotels to hide from him.

One friend, David McCarty of Flower Mound, said Linda Martin had caught Kenneth Martin following her and watching her. Besides hiring a protective service, he said, she had changed the locks on her Flower Mound home.

Kenneth Martin is accused of shooting his wife Tuesday evening at a busy intersection near Southlake Town Square after they met with an attorney about their pending divorce. Linda Martin, 55, died at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Grapevine, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s website.

Kenneth Martin remained in the Keller Jail on Thursday in lieu of $250,000 bail. He is expected to be charged with murder, police said.

McCarty, speaking in a telephone interview for a group of Linda Martin’s friends and neighbors, said Thursday that the group doesn’t want Kenneth Martin out of jail but that they fear that his bail isn’t high enough.

“He has nothing to lose at this point,” McCarty said. “We want justice to be served. There’s a history of this individual not being right.”

He said Kenneth Martin had threatened to kill at least two other community members.

‘A passion for people’

Linda Martin was jovial and excited in the days before her death, McCarty said. She hired a contractor to work on a garden in her back yard for her rabbits and chickens — a hobby that McCarty had introduced her to.

“I always joked with her [that] I was a bad influence on her and going to turn her into a redneck,” he said.

She was a beautiful, vivacious person inside and out who loved the outdoors and had a passion for people, he said.

“We’re all devastated,” McCarty said, adding, “We want to keep our little community safe.”

Police say Kenneth Martin followed his wife after they left the attorney’s office and stopped right behind her near Central Avenue and Farm Road 1709 sometime before 5:30 p.m. He got out, walked up to her car and shot her in the head, police said.

Kenneth Martin, 52, of Flower Mound, was arrested at the scene without incident, police spokeswoman Kim Leach said. A handgun was recovered at the scene.

Homicides rare in Southlake

Homicides are rare in the wealthy suburb in Northeast Tarrant County. Before a murder/suicide in April, the last killing was in May 2013, when a drug cartel lawyer was gunned down in Southlake Town Square.

The Martins, married for 20 years, stopped living together in October, according to Tarrant County court documents. The couple did not have children together, though she had two from a previous marriage. A divorce petition she filed in November was dismissed because it was filed in the wrong county.

Kenneth Martin then filed for divorce in Denton County on Nov. 24, and she filed a counter-petition the next day. She filed for a protective order in March, according to Denton County court documents.

Her funeral service is pending.

“She was intelligent, kind, beautiful, giving and passionate,” friend Kris Thompson said Thursday. “She did everything right, and she is still gone.”

‘Not going to stop’

SafeHaven CEO Kathryn Jacob said Thursday that a victim of abuse must reach out as many times as possible for help.

“People who are violent are not going to stop because of a legal piece of paper,” Jacob said. “You may physically be away from someone, but that doesn’t mean you are safe.”

Jacob said that SafeHaven’s shelters in Fort Worth and Arlington provide safety and education for victims.

“You can’t have enough legal help or counseling,” Jacob said.

Most women killed in domestic violence incidents in Texas are shot, according to a statewide study, Honoring Texas Victims 2014.

Of the 132 women killed by intimate male partners in 2014, 67 percent were killed with a gun, according to the report. Other numbers:

▪ 10 of the 132 were from Tarrant County and 10 from Dallas County.

▪ 23 of the victims were from Harris County.

▪ 51 percent of the victims were still married.

▪ 77 percent of the victims were killed at home.

▪ 8 percent were killed in a vehicle.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Dylan Bradley: 817-390-7984, @dbradley1220

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr

Help for victims of domestic abuse

If you are being abused and in immediate danger, call 911. For emergency shelter, call SafeHaven’s 24-hour crisis hotline at 877-701-7233.

Source: SafeHaven