Cloquet man pleads guilty to Cromwell murdersJoshua David Martineau testified Friday that he shot Thomas Holm and Kim Schmidt to death and agreed to serve 30 years for each murder.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
CARLTON — Joshua David Martineau testified Friday that he cold-bloodedly shot both Thomas Holm and Holm’s girlfriend, Kim Schmidt, to death in the back of their heads in the couple’s Cromwell home because Holm refused to turn over money and marijuana to him and because Schmidt could identify him.
With those admissions, Martineau, 29, of Cloquet pleaded guilty in State District Court to two counts of intentional second-degree murder in the Jan. 8, 2011, deaths of the two 53-year-olds. The defendant agreed to serve a 60-year prison sentence, 30 years for each murder. If he follows prison rules, he can be released after spending 40 years behind bars.
Martineau — who changed his name from David Joshua Annette — and his alleged accomplice, Rachel Charlotte Defoe, 26, were indicted by a Carlton County grand jury on first-degree murder charges. Martineau had been scheduled to stand trial starting April 2. If a jury had convicted him of first-degree premeditated murder, he would have faced life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.
Judge Robert Macaulay ordered an Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer to investigate Martineau’s background before sentencing next Friday. Defoe remains scheduled for trial on Oct. 1.
Under questioning by Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler, Martineau testified that he had been smoking marijuana and methamphetamine the day of the slayings. He said he purchased $50 worth of marijuana from Holm earlier in the day and then returned to the house to rob Holm.
The defendant said he carried a .22 rifle when he confronted Holm in the house. “I said I’m here for the weed and the money,” Martineau said.
Pertler asked the defendant if Holm was complying with his request to give up the marijuana and money.
“No, not really,” Martineau said. He said Holm turned away from him and started walking toward a wall where his guns were stored. The defendant said he then shot Holm in the back of the head. He said the victim wasn’t able to talk, but was making noises. He shot him again.
He said he then stole Holm’s guns and gave them to Defoe to hide. He remained at the house and was there when Schmidt returned home from work. He said he punched her in the face at the front door to try to knock her out. She fell down the inside stairs. He said he tied her up. He then realized she had seen him and had uttered his name.
Pertler asked him why he shot her.
“Because I thought I could get away with it,” he said.
Martineau said Defoe wasn’t present when he shot the victims and he suggested she didn’t know that they had been shot. “I didn’t tell her I killed them,” he said. “I told her I knocked them out and tied them up.”
The case was built against the defendant as a result of an investigation conducted by the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“My paramount concern, of course, is the victims’ families, and we’ve really been on board with them the whole way,” Pertler said after the plea hearing. “We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of the entire process. He’s going to be in prison for a very long time. They’re at peace with that and they’ve been very, very involved.”
Members of the victims’ families will have the opportunity to provide victim impact statements to the court next week.