Shooting in W.Va. domestic, cops say

January 14, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg woman who was shot in the back as she ran out of her home just before midnight Tuesday was in critical condition in a Virginia hospital Wednesday night.

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Tina Marie Martin, 39, was shot once in the upper back in the front yard of the 307 N. Delaware Ave. home she shared with John Wayne Batson, according to the Martinsburg Police Department.

Police believe Batson shot Martin and then went inside the house and turned the gun on himself. Batson was found in the living room with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, police said.

Batson, 49, was pronounced dead at Martinsburg City Hospital, police said.

Police said Batson left a note for police but investigators would not divulge the contents.

Martinsburg City Police Detective Kevin Miller said Batson fired three shots at Martin in the front yard of their home at around 11:47 p.m. Tuesday, hitting her once in the back.


Martin managed to get to a house across the street. The residents of the house heard her moaning on their front porch and called police.

The neighbor who called police said she and her husband were awakened by four loud explosions just before midnight. The woman, who would not give her name, said she and her husband had gotten out of bed to see what happened when they heard loud thumps on their front door.

The woman said she did not see anyone when she looked out the window in her front door but she heard a moan.

Unsure who was on the porch, the woman called 911 and asked police to send a patrol car, she said.

The woman said her husband went out the back door to investigate the moan and saw Martin, clad in robe and pajamas, slumped in a corner of the front porch.

"He said 'It's Tina. She's hurt and she's bleeding,'" said the woman.

The woman said she again called 911, this time telling them to send an ambulance.

Martin was taken to Martinsburg City Hospital and then flown to Fairfax Inova Hospital in Virginia.

Police said the shooting was related to a domestic issue but refused to comment on a motive.

Four spent .30-caliber shell casings were found in Martin's and Batson's home along with other ammunition, a note to police and the .30-caliber rifle believed to have been used in the shooting.

Miller said Batson and Martin had lived at the Delaware Avenue home for about two years and said there was no indication police had ever been called to the home before Tuesday.

The couple did not have any children but had two dogs and a cat, he said.

Police said there were no indications of any criminal history for Batson or Martin, with the exception of Martin's September 1998 guilty plea to one count of felony theft in Washington County Circuit Court. Her plea was in connection with the embezzlement of nearly $7,000 from the Hagerstown Surgical Clinic while she was office manager there, according to records in Washington County Circuit Court.

Martin was sentenced to two years in prison but a judge suspended all but one weekend in the Washington County Detention Center.

The neighbor whose husband found the unconscious Martin bleeding on their front porch said Martin and Batson were "very nice people" who often walked their two schnauzers down the street and in nearby War Memorial Park.

The woman said both were friendly and outgoing people who appeared to be a "loving and hard-working couple."

The woman said that Batson worked for a Leesburg, Va., oil company and that Martin works for an orthopedic surgeon in Silver Spring, Md.

"I never expected anything like this," she said.

The woman said she was relieved Martin was alive Wednesday.

"She wanted to live," the woman said. "She must have crawled up here and she lost an awful lot of blood."

Quiet had returned to Delaware Avenue on Wednesday afternoon, with the only sign of the shootings a strip of yellow police tape laying just off the lawn in front of the two-story white-and-tan house where Martin and Batson lived.

Police said the case remains under investigation.

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