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Chairman: Sheriff Thought He Was Above the Law

The AP via YellowBrix

January 06, 2010

GALLATIN COUNTY, IL – Federal charges that the longtime sheriff of Gallatin County in southern Illinois sold marijuana while in uniform seemed odd enough to county board chairman Randy Drone. But new allegations the sheriff plotted from jail to have someone killed made the case even stranger.

“Is it greed? Ignorance? I don’t know,” Drone said Tuesday before Sheriff Raymond Martin’s first court appearance with his wife and 20-year-old son, who also are charged in the murder-for-hire scheme. "Arrogance — maybe that’s it. Thinking he’s so above the law he could actually get away with this.

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“But getting rearrested while still in jail? That’s something.”

Authorities arrested Martin on the latest charges Saturday in Murphysboro, where he has spent much of his time since May, when he was hauled away in handcuffs from his office 60 miles away.

His 36-year-old wife, Christina Martin, and son Cody Martin also were arrested Saturday when they came to visit him at the Jackson County jail.

The three participated in Tuesday’s brief court hearing by closed-circuit television from the jail. A judge declined Raymond Martin’s request for a public defender, deciding the family’s $80,000-a-year household income could cover an attorney.

Christina Martin’s attorney, Paul Christenson, waved off reporters’ questions afterward, saying he hadn’t yet seen any of the police files. Cody Martin was granted a public defender.

Each remains jailed on $1 million bond, scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 26. The most serious of the charges against them carries up to 40 years in prison.

Court records don’t say who the three plotted to kill, and no indication was given in court. Michael Wepsiec, the state’s attorney in Jackson County, who is handling the case, refused to discuss the matter. A Jackson County sheriff’s spokesman declined to comment, and a message left with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in southern Illinois was not immediately returned.


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