Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that on Friday, January 20, 2023, Daniel Martinez, age 26 and of Florida, was found guilty as charged of one count of armed robbery with a firearm and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with a robbery that took place in Mandeville.
On June 20, 2021, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call from a gas station in Mandeville. The victim, a store clerk, stated that a man in a white Honda Pilot parked and entered the store near closing time and asked for a pack of cigarettes. The man then pulled out a firearm and demanded the victim open the cash register and put cash in his bag. After the victim complied, the perpetrator demanded he get down on the floor. The victim stayed on the floor until the perpetrator left and then crawled to the manager’s office to call 911. The victim was able to describe the perpetrator’s clothing, a tattoo above his right eye, a blue bandana he used to conceal his face before he pulled the gun, as well as the blue spray-painted gun he pointed at the victim.
Video surveillance footage obtained from the gas station corroborated the victim’s description and depicted the robber to be a Hispanic male with a blue bandana around his neck, a Puma sweatshirt, a Washington Redskins hat, blue and grey shorts, and white shoes. Detectives were able to get a partial license plate number from surveillance cameras across the street. Through use of a law enforcement database, the detectives were able to develop the entire Texas license plate number and learned the vehicle had been previously reported stolen out of Alexandria, Louisiana.
Further investigation revealed the vehicle was involved in a high-speed, fatal automobile accident in St. Martin Parish approximately 3 hours after the robbery in Mandeville. Louisiana State Police had responded to the accident in St. Martin and identified the driver of the vehicle as Daniel Martinez.
St. Tammany detectives compared the State Police body cam footage from the scene of the crash to the surveillance video from the armed robbery and determined that Daniel Martinez matched the description of the armed robber – he had a tattoo above his right eye and was wearing the same Puma sweatshirt, blue and grey shorts, and white shoes. Detectives also reviewed his mugshot from St. Martin Parish and confirmed he was the same person who had committed the armed robbery.
In its investigation of the fatal traffic accident, Troop I of the Louisiana State Police executed a search warrant on Daniel Martinez’s vehicle and photographed its interior. These photographs depicted the Washington Redskin’s hat, the blue bandana, the bag used in the robbery, and the coin rolls taken during the robbery.
St. Tammany detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Daniel Martinez, who was later apprehended by the United States Marshals Fugitive Taskforce in Florida and extradited to St. Tammany Parish.
At trial, Assistant District Attorney Amanda Gritten stated during opening statements, “During this case you are going to hear about every gas station clerk’s worst nightmare. Daniel Martinez was the one depicted in the surveillance camera that night committing an armed robbery. Daniel Martinez is the one who made the store clerk’s worst nightmare a reality.”
District Judge Raymond Childress presided over the trial. Assistant District Attorneys Amanda Gritten and Tiffany Dover prosecuted the case. The St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Division and Troop I of the Louisiana State Police provided vital assistance throughout the prosecution.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 11, 2023. The defendant has several previous felony convictions and faces a potential 198 years in prison as a repeat offender.