By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE — A murder suspect was sentenced to 18 years in prison Tuesday in the Darke County Common Pleas Court. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.
Eric J. Martin, 24, of Dayton, pleaded guilty and was sentenced for the murder of Layton White, 29, of Union City, Ind. which occurred on Dec. 19, 2022, in Gettysburg, Ohio. He was apprehended in Troy, Ohio, hours after the incident.
Martin was sentenced to 3 years on a gun specification charge, and 6 years on a burglary charge to be served concurrently with the 15 years to life on the murder charge.
Originally, Martin faced seven charges: trespassing in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present; having weapons while under disability; aggravated burglary; burglary; trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present; aggravated murder; and murder.
Darke County Prosecuting Attorney R. Kelly Ormsby spoke about the plea agreement between the defense and state.
“We move to dismiss all of the counts except count three, aggravated burglary, count seven which charges him (Martin) with murder, an unclassified felony, and the defendant would also be pleading guilty to the first specification to count seven which is a 3-year firearm specification,” Orsmby said.
By pleading guilty, Martin faced a mandatory 3-year firearm specification, a mandatory 15-years-to-life on the murder charge with up to $15,000 in fines, which are not mandatory, and a concurrent prison sentence for the aggravated burglary anywhere from 3 to 11 years with up to a $20,000 fine. There will be a mandatory post-release control for up to five years after his release from prison.
“The plea agreement is a fair resolution of the case we have today,” Ormsby said. “It was a horrific incident back on Dec. 19. The court is aware of the defendant’s prior offense for felonious assault that he was on probation for.”
At the time of the incident, Martin was on probation for felonious assault, a felony of the second degree. Due to Martin’s sentencing and the length of the terms, his probation case was to be closed after the murder sentence was imposed.
Before sentencing, Martin’s defense attorney, Alex Pendl, addressed the family of the victim.
“I would like to give my sincere condolences to the family of Layton White,” Pendl said. “Understanding this event was a terrible tragedy and your family has suffered great loss, there is nothing Ormsby, myself, or the court can do to fix that, so you do have my true condolences.”
Martin spoke up as well, stating his condolences.
“I do want to offer my condolences to the family. I had never met them or him, but this incident escalated to a point that it shouldn’t have, and I take responsibility for the actions I have made,” Martin said. “Not only them, but I will have to live with this.”
The mother of Martin’s children addressed Martin, stating the last 164 days have been “hell on earth” and his actions on Dec. 19 took a little bit from everyone that day.
“What I want to know for me is if you remember our kids’ screams that day. The screams of ‘Eric No!’ or the other ones’ blood curdling screams,” the mother said. “You robbed them of their innocence and childhood. You were supposed to be a dad. You have no idea what you put them through.”
She stated 18 years isn’t enough because Martin did not just hurt White, but he hurt his mom, dad, family, and others.
“He caused so much pain for someone he didn’t even know,” the female said.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].