Reynolds v. State Of Ala.

Decision Date01 October 2010
Docket NumberCC-05-257.01,CR-07-0443,CC-05-257.05
PartiesMichael Wayne Reynolds v. State of Alabama
CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals

Michael Wayne Reynolds
State of Alabama



OCTOBER TERM, 2009-2010
October 01, 2010

Appeal from Etowah Circuit Court

KELLUM, Judge.

In March 2005, an Etowah County grand jury returned an indictment against the appellant, Michael Wayne Reynolds, charging him with five counts of capital murder in connection with the deaths of Charles James Martin III, Melinda Martin,

Page 2

and the Martins' eight-year-old daughter, Savannah Martin. The murders were made capital because: (1) two or more persons were killed by one act or pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, see § 13A-5-40(a) (10), Ala. Code 1 975 (count I of the indictment); (2) the murder of Charles Martin III was committed during the course of a first-degree robbery, see § 13A-5-40 (a) (2), Code of Alabama 1 975 (count II of the indictment); (3) the murder of Melinda Martin was committed during the course of a first-degree robbery, see § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Code of Alabama 1975 (count III of the indictment); (4) Savannah Martin was less than 14 years of age when she was murdered, see § 13A-5-40 (a) (15), Code of Alabama 1975 (count IV of the indictment); and (5) the murder of Savannah Martin was committed during the course of a first-degree robbery, see § 13A-5-40 (a) (2), Code of Alabama 1975 (count V of the indictment).

Following a trial by jury, Reynolds was convicted of all five counts of capital murder, as charged in the indictment. The jury recommended, by a vote of 12-0, that Reynolds be sentenced to death. The circuit court accepted the jury's

Page 3

recommendation and sentenced Reynolds to death for the five capital-murder convictions.

Reynolds filed a timely motion for new trial, which was denied by operation of law.1 This appeal followed.

Facts of the Crimes

_The State presented evidence that in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 25, 2003, Charles Martin III, his wife, Melinda, and their 8-year-old daughter, Savannah, were stabbed to death in their house. Their bodies were doused with gasoline and set on fire. The crimes were discovered later that morning by Melinda's father, Jerry Veal. Melinda Martin's purse and a cordless telephone were missing from the house.

Page 4

Adrian Marcella "Marcie" West, who was Michael Reynolds's girlfriend at the time of the murders, testified at trial. She and Reynolds lived with Reynolds's father, Harold Reynolds, at the time of the crimes. West testified that on Saturday, May 24, 2003, Michael Reynolds installed a car stereo for Donald Harvey, who was also known as "Dino," in exchange for some cocaine. West and Reynolds used the cocaine; they also used crack cocaine several more times throughout that day and night.

West testified that later that night or early on Sunday morning, she drove Michael Reynolds to the Martins' house in a vehicle that was owned by Harold Reynolds's girlfriend, Sandra Roberts. West said that Michael Reynolds and Charles Martin were good friends. Reynolds told West that they were going to the Martins' house "to get some money," and she assumed he meant that he was going to rob Charles Martin.

When they arrived at the Martin residence, West parked the vehicle in the driveway, and Michael Reynolds got out. Reynolds told West to wait in the car. West said that Reynolds was not wearing any shoes, and that he was carrying a scabbard containing a dagger-style knife. She had seen the knife before

Page 5

at Harold Reynolds's residence. West testified that she was not alarmed that Reynolds had the knife with him because, she said, Reynolds sometimes traded various items for drugs or money.

Reynolds went to the carport door and knocked. Charles Martin opened the door and waved at West, and then Martin and Reynolds went into the house.

While West was waiting in the car, she heard Melinda Martin scream. West got out of the car and ran into the house. She saw Charles Martin lying on the kitchen floor and she heard Melinda Martin screaming in the back of the house. West went to the bedroom, where she saw Melinda Martin bent over next to the bed as Michael Reynolds stabbed her. Savannah Martin was on the bed.

West testified that she got between Reynolds and Melinda and tried to stop him from stabbing her. Reynolds accidentally stabbed West through the arm when she tried to intervene. West testified that Reynolds yelled at her and asked her what she was doing there. He told West to get the telephone and Melinda Martin's purse and to go wait in the car. Reynolds handed her

Page 6

two knives--the knife that he had taken into the house, and a steak knife that West had not seen before.

West grabbed the telephone and Melinda Martin's purse, and took the knives and left the bedroom. When she left the room, Melinda Martin was "slouched over" at the end of the bed, and Savannah Martin was standing on the bed. West testified that she felt faint, so she leaned up against the wall in the hallway. She again felt faint when she crossed over Charles Martin's body in the kitchen, so she leaned against the kitchen-counter. West left the house and went to the car.

West opened the front passenger door and placed the items in the floorboard and then crawled to the driver's side of the vehicle--the driver's door was damaged and did not open.

West testified that Reynolds came to the car and told West not to leave, and then he grabbed the larger knife and went back into the house. Reynolds apparently returned to the car a second time and again told West not to leave. West testified that she was afraid, so she did not leave or call for help. At that time, West did not realize that she had been stabbed.

Page 7

West testified that when Reynolds returned to the car for the third time, he got in the vehicle and told her that she had been stabbed and that he should drive. West said that she did not allow Reynolds to drive because she feared that he was going to take her somewhere and kill her. West could see the orange glow of a fire in the house.

She drove back to Harold Reynolds's residence. When they arrived at Reynolds's house, Michael Reynolds told West to give her clothes to him and to take a shower. West stated that she saw Reynolds looking through Melinda Martin's purse. While West was taking a shower, Reynolds took a cloth and cleaned Sandra Roberts's car. After West showered, Reynolds bandaged her arm, using a first-aid kit they had in their bedroom. Reynolds told West that there was no blood in the car.

Sandra Roberts testified that she was asleep in Harold Reynolds's bed when West and Michael Reynolds arrived back at the house. She testified that around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., she was awakened when Reynolds placed her car keys on the night stand beside the bed. West and Reynolds then went to their

Page 8

bedroom. Roberts noticed that West was walking with her arms folded.

Roberts got out of the bed and went into the kitchen and sat down at the kitchen table. A short time later, Michael Reynolds entered the kitchen and gave Roberts some money and told her to go buy some drugs. Roberts left and purchased some crack cocaine. West said that while Roberts was gone, Michael Reynolds took a shower and that is when she noticed blood on Reynolds's legs.

When Roberts returned to the house, she and Michael Reynolds divided the crack cocaine. Roberts used her portion of the drugs while she was seated at the kitchen table, but Michael Reynolds took his and West's share of the crack to his bedroom.

Roberts testified that a short time later, Michael Reynolds reentered the kitchen and propositioned her for sex, but she refused. Roberts said that Michael Reynolds wanted more drugs but, according to him, he could not get West to give him more money. Reynolds asked Roberts to talk to West. Roberts agreed.

Page 9

When Roberts entered the bedroom, West was in the bed with the covers pulled up to her neck, staring at the ceiling. Roberts testified that West was acting strangely and that she was unable to engage West in any conversation. Roberts decided to leave and go to her house. As she was driving, she noticed a cordless telephone without the base on the backseat of her car. Roberts had never seen that telephone before.

West and Michael Reynolds woke around 9:00 or 9:30 on that morning. West noticed that the eyeglasses Michael Reynolds had been wearing the night before were broken. When she pointed this out to Reynolds, he told her that the missing eyeglass piece would melt in the fire. West testified that Reynolds told her that the knives were under the truck and that their clothes and Melinda Martin's purse were in a white bag.

Around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday May 25, Jerry Veal, Melinda Martin's father, drove by Charles and Melinda Martin's residence located on Tidmore Bend Road in Etowah County. Veal became concerned when he saw Melinda's vehicle parked in the driveway because Melinda regularly attended church services on

Page 10

Sunday mornings. Veal telephoned Melinda on his cell phone, but no one answered.

Veal drove back to the Martin residence and parked his vehicle in the driveway. He got out and went to the carport door and knocked. When no one came to the door, Veal opened the carport door and found the kitchen in disarray--furniture had been moved around, the window treatments were partially torn down, and there was blood everywhere. Veal saw his son-in-law lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood.

Veal returned to his car and told his wife, and she telephoned 911. While Jerry Veal was talking on the cell phone with the 911 dispatcher, he saw James Mulkey, a retired Gadsden police officer, drive by the house. Veal was acquainted with Mulkey, so he stopped Mulkey and told him what he had seen.

Mulkey instructed Veal to remain outside, and Mulkey went to the carport door. When Mulkey opened the carport door, he saw Charles Martin, who appeared to be dead, lying on the kitchen floor. Mulkey did not enter the residence at that time because he could detect the strong...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT