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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ohio - SANDUSKY - Suspect claims motorcycle gang killed woman

Murder defendant Michael Martin admitted picking up victim Amanda Gibson and taking her to his home the day she was killed, but claims a member of the Outlaws, a motorcycle gang, killed her, according to testimony yesterday from Erie County Sheriff’s Detective Nick Kotsopoulos
Martin, 53, of Sandusky, is on trial for the June 7, 2010, strangulation death of 25-year-old Gibson, whose body was discovered in Groton Township near a pond by some fishermen.
Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter questioned Kotsopoulos about the investigation that led deputies to arrest Martin.
Baxter said when police got a warrant to search the home of Martin’s girlfriend on July 12, they found a letter from Martin stating he knows she has a lot of questions and he was going to answer them.
Kotsopoulos testified about the letter yesterday, Baxter said. In the letter, police learned Martin admitted to picking up Gibson and taking her to his Sandusky house to pick up possessions stored there and help her move, Baxter said last night.
“Martin wrote while she was putting her stuff in his truck he went to take a bath for about 45 minutes. After his bath he went outside to check on Gibson and saw her dead body and a truck pulling away,” Baxter said.
“Martin also wrote he recognized the man driving the truck, who is one of the Outlaws and they were trying to kill him and killed Gibson instead,” according to Baxter. “Martin said he panicked and then disposed of her body. The next day June 8, Martin and his girlfriend went out to party with the Outlaws,” Martin wrote in the letter.
Martin’s attorney, Joseph Patituce, cross-examined Kotsopoulos regarding phone calls and text messages Gibson sent and received from various people, according to the court.
Patituce said phone records show Gibson had numerous contact with a man suspected of being a drug dealer, including a text message sent when she was supposed to have been dead. Cocaine was found in her system, according to medical records.
Detectives failed to follow-up on this and there are other suspects to investigate, not just Martin, according to Patituce.
The trial resumes this morning in Erie County Common Pleas Court.