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03/14/57 RHONDA BELLE MARTIN v. STATE ALABAMA

March 14, 1957

RHONDA BELLE MARTIN, ALIAS, ETC.,
v.
STATE OF ALABAMA



All the Justices concur except Stakely, J., not sitting.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Goodwyn

GOODWYN, Justice. Appellant, Rhonda Belle Martin, was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to death by electrocution. Her appeal here is under the provisions of the automatic appeal statute. Act No. 249, approved June 24, 1943, Gen.Acts 1943, p. 217, Code 1940, Tit. 15, § 382(1) et seq., Pocket Part.

The indictment charges that appellant 'unlawfully and with malice aforethought killed Claude C. Martin by administering to him a quantity of arsenic, a poison, against the peace and dignity of the State of Alabama.' She entered pleas of 'not guilty' and 'not guilty by reason of insanity.'

The deceased, Claude C. Martin, was appellant's husband.

After laying a proper predicate, the state introduced in evidence the defendant's signed confession admitting that she had placed poison in her husband's coffee over a period of several months preceding and during his fatal illness. It is undisputed, and clearly appears from the record, that the confession was voluntary.

The confession, made in the form of questions and answers, contains the following references to defendant's marriage to her husband's son:

'Q. Did he [the deceased] have an automobile? A. Yes sir.

'Q. Was there any kind of insurance policy on that automobile that it paid up at his death? A. Yes sir.

'Q. What kind? What kind of automobile was it? A. A '49 Hudson.

'Q. Did you inherit anything else from him? A. No sir. I don't think there was anything else.

'Q. When did you start going with his son? A. Well, it was three or four months after he died.

'Q. Did his son live with him? A. He was in the Navy.

'Q. In the Navy the whole time you were married? A. Yes sir.

'Q. When did he get out? When was he discharged? A. This February two years ago.

'Q. He was in the Navy when you married him? A. Yes sir.

'Q. Where did you move after Mr. Martin died? Claude Martin died? A. 519 Montgomery Street.

'Q. Did he own any real estate? A. No sir.

'Q. You gave him three or four more doses? And the last dose was two or three weeks before he died? A. No sir, longer than ...


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