Friends, family of Cromwell murder victims testify before Martineau sentencingFriends and family of Cromwell murder victims Kim Schmitz and Thomas Holm reacted with emotions ranging from anger and bewilderment to sadness before Joshua David Martineau was sentenced Friday morning.
Friends and family of Cromwell murder victims Kim Schmitz and Thomas Holm reacted with emotions ranging from anger and bewilderment to sadness before Joshua David Martineau was sentenced Friday morning. Following victim impact statements from five different people, Judge Robert Macaulay sentenced Martineau to 60 years in prison for two counts of intentional second-degree murder for the incident that took place at the home of the long-time couple on Jan. 8. 2011.
Tom’s best friend, Robert Elmer, who discovered Holm’s body last January, talked about how his life and the lives of his family were 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. Currently, Defoe is scheduled for trial Oct. 1 but that will likely change now that Martineau pleaded guilty.
Diane Bussiere said “Kimmer” was her best friend.
“I think of her every day,” she said, adding that someday the hole in her heart would heal. “I miss her so much.”
After talking about how blessed she was to know Kim, Bussiere addressed Martineau directly, in a voice that all 40-some people in the courtroom could hear easily.
“You are the perfect example of why there should be a death penalty,” she said. “The only way I want you to leave prison is in a black body bag. Only then will justice be served.”
Martineau, 29, of Cloquet, declined to make a statement Friday. However, he testified March 23 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, read a heartfelt and poetic statement about all the things she would miss about Tom, who called her “long-time sister.”
“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,” Lee read from a prepared statement which detailed many of the things she and Tom enjoyed together, including bologna sandwiches on a road trip to Montana and the kind of homegrown memories only a brother and sister share.
“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.”
Although all the statements were deeply personal and individual, every person touched on the senselessness of the crime, as well as the zest for life displayed by both victims. Some showed photographs of Tom or Kim enjoying time with friends and family – photographs that Tom’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 her short stature,” Lee’s daughter Jessica 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.”
When Judge Robert Macaulay addressed the courtroom following the victim impact statements, he noted that he could have done the sentencing the previous Friday, 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. “I can’t help when these statements are made but to steal a glance throughout them toward the person that committed the crime, 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.”
Amelia Gapinski read a letter on behalf of her cousin, Tom Holm Jr., who said he last spoke to his Dad on the morning he was murdered.
“He was going fishing,” he said. “I didn’t realize that was the last time I’d talk to him, ever,” Gapinski read.
Tom Jr. said the devastating news has affected him physically and mentally.
“You robbed me of my dad for no good reason,” Gapinski read. “… You robbed my daughter of her grandfather. You try explaining to a 7-year-old that her grandfather was murdered. … He won’t get to teach her how to fish, see her graduate … I wish I had words to tell you how you have impacted my life.”
In accordance with the terms of the plea agreement, Macaulay sentenced Martineau to serve a 60-year prison sentence, 30 years for each murder to be served consecutively, with credit for 395 days served. He will also be required to pay for the funeral services. Had he not pleaded guilty to intentional second-degree murder, Martineau was scheduled to stand trial starting Monday, April 2. If a jury had convicted him of first-degree premeditated murder, he would have faced life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.
According to Minnesota law, if Martineau follows prison rules, Martineau will be eligible for release after spending 40 years behind bars.