Kenneth Martin said it was accident. He hadn't intended to shoot his estranged wife, Linda Martin, in the face when he walked up to her car as she sat at a red light near Southlake Town Square. Wednesday afternoon, a Tarrant County jury decided they didn't believe him and convicted Martin of murder.
As Christian McPhate detailed in a feature for the Observer in August 2016, Martin, 52 at the time of the shooting, shot his wife after he caught her kissing a younger man, Jason Hitt, in the married couple's garage in November 2015.
Hitt battered Martin in the ensuing one-sided fight, leaving him desperate and angry, prosecutors would later argue at his trial. A few months later, Linda Martin told Kenneth that she wanted the couple's house, burial plots and Navarro County ranch in their upcoming divorce.
During Martin's trial this week, his defense team argued that he deserved to be convicted of the lesser crime of criminally negligent homicide instead of murder. Although he was carrying a handgun when he approached his wife in traffic, he didn't mean to kill her.
"If he wanted to kill her, why do it in the middle of Town Square, in broad daylight in front of 50 witnesses?" defense attorney Christy Jack asked the jury during closing arguments, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Prosecutors from the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office ridiculed Martin's argument, pointing out that, while he said he couldn't remember the shooting itself, he remembered everything that happened before and after the shooting.
"[Martin can] remember everything up until the point where I go grab my gun," prosecutor Lucas Allan said. "Then, he can't remember when he tells his daughter, 'I shot her. I shot her.'"
The lead prosecutor in the case, Art Clayton, said Martin had been building up to the murder for months, ever since his fight with Hitt. Martin knew exactly what he was doing when he shot his wife, Clayton said.
"He stood right in front of her, looked her right in the eye and snuffed the life from her," he said.