Martin sentenced to life in prison

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OTTUMWA COURIER — An Ottumwa man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Monday after he was found guilty by a judge of first-degree murder.

Preston Odell Martin, 42, of Ottumwa, will spend the rest of his life in prison barring a successful appeal overturning the verdict or sentence. Judge Greg Milani on Monday handed down the mandatory sentence in Iowa for first-degree murder: life in prison without the possibility of parole. That sentence will run concurrently with two 25-year terms for convictions of first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery.

Milani announced in January that he had found Martin guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the three charges. Miliani had heard the evidence during a May bench trial because Martin waived his right to a jury trial.

Martin had been charged with the death of 41-year-old Thomas Carlton Foster at Foster’s Queen Anne Avenue home in Ottumwa in May 2019.

Martin argued he was not guilty by reason of insanity.

Prosecutors pushed against Martin’s arguments for an insanity defense during the trial and after in court filings. Assistant Attorney General Monty Platz said Martin’s actions of attempting to hide evidence and clean the murder scene showed he was not criminally insane.

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