Victims' families, friends speak out before man is sentenced for Cromwell double murderJoshua David Martineau was sentenced in State District Court in Carlton County on Friday for killing two people in Cromwell last year, but first the victims’ families and friends had a chance to say how his actions changed their lives forever.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
CARLTON - Joshua David Martineau was sentenced in State District Court in Carlton County on Friday for killing two people in Cromwell last year, but first the victims’ families and friends had a chance to say how his actions changed their lives forever.
With emotions running the gamut from anger to sadness, five people told the court how the murders of longtime couple Thomas Holm and Kim Schmitz, both 53, on Jan. 8, 2011, affected them and the larger community.
Martineau, 29, of Cloquet, declined to make a statement today, but he testified on March 23 in pleading guilty to two counts of intentional second-degree murder that he cold-bloodedly shot both Holm and Schmitz in the back of their heads in the couple’s Cromwell home 14 months ago because Holm refused to turn over money and marijuana to him and because Schmitz could identify him.
Holm’s sister, Betty Lee, was the first to speak.
“Never again will I see my brother; never again will I see his magnificent smile in person … hear his contagious laugh … spend time together on Christmas Eve enjoying the awesome oyster stew he made from scratch,” she said.
Lee read from a prepared statement that detailed many of the things she and Holm enjoyed together, including bologna sandwiches on a road trip to Montana and other homegrown brother-sister memories.
“Tom deeply loved his family, especially his son, Tom, and his granddaughter, Hailey,” she said. “He loved his high school sweetheart and fiancée, Kim, who lived and died with him. Most of all, he loved life.”
All those who spoke touched on the senselessness of the crime, saying the murders had robbed them of two people who had embraced life and whom they loved. Some showed photographs of Holm or Schmitz enjoying time with friends and family, photographs that Holm’s niece, Jessica Lee, said “will help keep the memories alive.”
“I miss seeing Kim’s face behind the meat counter (at Cloquet’s B&B Market) and short stature,” Lee said. “It’s horrible to know how Martineau ended her life. She was a tough girl and she fought for her life, but the evil in Martineau overcame her.
“I miss Tom and Kim dearly,” she added.
Holm’s best friend, Robert Elmer, who discovered Holm’s body, talked about how his life and the lives of his family are forever changed as a result of the murder and the weeks that followed while law enforcement pieced together the evidence and finally arrested Martineau and his alleged accomplice, Rachel Charlotte Defoe, 26.
When Judge Robert Macaulay addressed the courtroom following the victim impact statements, he noted that he could have done the sentencing March 23, when Martineau pleaded guilty.
“That having been said, a very important part of our sentencing laws is the right to make statements – from the heart – to the court as to how the crime has affected (the victims and others),” Macaulay said, noting that he was going to abide by the sentencing outlined in the plea agreement.
“I can’t help when these statements are made but to steal a glance through them toward the person that committed the crime,” Macaulay said after Martineau declined to make his own statement to the court, “to try and to get a sense of how the statements are affecting that person. It’s difficult to know for sure whether you absorbed in your heart and head the very poignant comments made here, I can only hope that you did. I hope you will reflect on the way you forever changed these people’s lives.”
Macaulay ordered Martineau to serve a 60-year prison sentence, 30 years for each murder to be served consecutively, with credit for 395 days served. He also will be required to pay for the funeral services.
According to Minnesota law, if Martineau follows prison rules, he is eligible for release after spending 40 years behind bars.