Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 4:40 p.m.

This witness's photo is withheld for his protectionDavid Martinson is Pastor Martinson's 15-year-old son. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.


  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Detective E. Parker
  • David Martinson

Detective Murphy: Good afternoon, David. Thank you for coming in. This is Detective Parker, and I'm Detective Murphy. Would you please state your name and address for the record?

David Martinson: I'm David Martinson. I live at 122 McRae Drive.

Detective Parker: How are you doing today, David?

David Martinson: All right, I guess. Things are a lot different now without Dad around.

Detective Parker: How's the rest of your family?

David Martinson: Mom is just sad. All she does lately at home is pray. And Emanuel seems pretty angry. I think he blames God for not stopping the killer.

Detective Murphy: Emanuel is your older brother?

David Martinson: Yeah, two years older.

Detective Murphy: Why do you think he blames God for your father's murder?

David Martinson: My brother doesn't have complete faith in God, but he's really smart. He always thinks of questions like, "If God is so great, why do these horrible things happen?" And "Why did He let Dad die?"

Detective Parker: What do you think, David?

David Martinson: I think… everything that happens is part of God's plan, even Dad's death. That's what Dad would probably say, if he were still here.

Detective Parker: Did your brother ever express his doubts about faith to your father?

David Martinson: A few years ago, he and Dad had this big argument about God and faith. I think Emanuel said he wanted to stop going to church, and Dad was trying to convince him not to.

Detective Parker: Did your parents force Emanuel to go back to church?

David Martinson: Dad said it was ultimately up to Emanuel, so Emanuel decided to go through the motions of going to church and reading the Bible. I think he wanted to make Dad happy.

Detective Murphy: What about your mother, David? How would you describe the relationship between your parents?

David Martinson: It was rock solid. I couldn't imagine the two of them apart, until now.

Detective Murphy: David, do you know if your father had any enemies? Can you think of anyone who would have wanted to hurt him?

David Martinson: I don't know about enemies since the only thing that Dad ever did was help people. But I remember this one time, a couple of months back, when Dad and I ran into Mr. Sanford at Walmart. He seemed pretty angry and tried to follow us out of the store.

Detective Parker: David, can you tell us some more details about that incident? What was Mr. Sanford so angry about?

David Martinson: It was before dinnertime, so Dad and I were there on a grocery run. Mr. Sanford came up to us at the checkout line and started talking to Dad. At first he seemed pretty normal, asking how we were doing and stuff. Then I guess Dad said something that must've ticked off Mr. Sanford because he goes, "Thanks to you, I don't have a wife anymore."

Detective Parker: Do you remember what your father said?

David Martinson: No. I just remember the look on Mr. Sanford's face when he said that. He started shaking so much that the bottles in his six-pack were rattling.

Detective Parker: What happened after that?

David Martinson: After Dad paid, he gave me the car keys and told me to go load the groceries in the trunk and wait for him in the car.

Detective Murphy: Did you hear any more of that conversation?

David Martinson: Dad kept telling Mr. Sanford that this wasn't the time or place, and that they could talk it over more in a private counseling session.

Detective Murphy: What did Mr. Sanford say to that?

David Martinson: He kept trying to give Dad this card, saying that he didn't need it anymore, that Dad should take it back for all the good it's done to him.

Detective Parker: Were you able to get a good view of the card? Can you describe what it looked like?

David Martinson: It was too small for me to make out the words. I didn't see any pictures or logos on it.

Detective Parker: How small? Like the size of a business card?

David Martinson: Yeah, I think so.

Detective Parker: Do you remember if your father took the card?

David Martinson: I don't know because Dad made me leave then. But I saw Dad and Mr. Sanford talking at the other end of the parking lot for a good 30 minutes before Dad came back to the car.

Detective Murphy: Did you ask your father about it afterward?

David Martinson: Yeah, during the car ride back. Dad just said it was confidential, something between him and Mr. Sanford.

Detective Parker: Did he seem worried or angry?

David Martinson: I could tell Dad was kind of upset, like he was still thinking about what happened at Walmart. He almost missed the turn for the street that goes to our house.

Detective Parker: Did you hear from Mr. Sanford after that incident?

David Martinson: No. That was the first time I saw Mr. Sanford in a long time, since he stopped coming to church. And I haven't seen him since.

Detective Murphy: Are you familiar with Mr. Sanford's son, Liam? He should be around the same age as you.

David Martinson: I know him, yeah. We used to be in Pastor Ingram's Sunday school class back when we were kids. We weren't really close, so we lost touch after Liam stopped going to church around the same time as his dad.

Detective Murphy: Can you think of any other people who've had similar confrontations with your father? Anyone from the congregation or the Church Committee perhaps?

David Martinson: I really can't. Dad never fought or argued with anyone. He was always so… patient.

Detective Parker: David, are you familiar with the verse "Whosoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and repents finds mercy"?

David Martinson: It sounds like Proverbs.

Detective Parker: Looks like you know your scripture. Your father would be proud.

David Martinson: Thanks, Detective.

Detective Parker: That's all for today, David. Thanks for all your help.

Interview ended: 5:04 p.m.


Have you seen me?

Click to learn more

Free Pastor Case Videos

Have a question or a technical issue?

Let us know so we can help

Go to top