Lynette Martinson had been married to the victim for more than 25 years.
Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff’s Department.
Monday, April 22, 2019 – 10:00 a.m.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Lynette Martinson
Detective Parker: Good morning, Mrs. Martinson. Thank you so much for coming in to speak with us.
Detective Murphy: We're very sorry for your loss. Pastor Martinson was a good man.
Lynette Martinson: Thank you, detectives.
Detective Parker: Mrs. Martinson, I know this is very difficult for you so soon after your husband's passing, but if you could just bear with us and answer a couple of questions, it would really help with the investigation.
Lynette Martinson: I understand. I've cried all the tears I can cry and said all the prayers I can say right now. It's really in God's hands. And the Lord preserves those who trust and love him, and he will punish those who are wicked.
Detective Murphy: Before we begin, would you please officially state your name and address for the record?
Lynette Martinson: Lynette Martinson. 122 McRae Drive.
Detective Murphy: How long have you been married to Pastor Martinson?
Lynette Martinson: Well, we got married in 1992. This would have been our 27th anniversary.
Detective Parker: How would you describe the nature of your marriage?
Lynette Martinson: Wendell was the love of my life. He was my soul mate, my partner. I mean, we had disagreements and disputes from time to time as everyone does, but we always trusted. We always had faith in one another and in God. Now that he's gone, I feel a little lost.
Detective Parker: Can you tell us where you were Sunday morning around 5:00 a.m.?
Lynette Martinson: I was at home asleep. I should have gone gotten up and gone to church with Wendell. He didn't wake me.
Detective Parker: Why do you think he didn't wake you?
Lynette Martinson: Well, I came home about 10:00 Saturday night. It was late. I had meant to have a 12-hour shift at the hospital. It turned into 15-hour shift. A woman and her daughter came in that morning after a car accident. They were in the ER. It's really hard on holiday weekends to have enough coverage of nurses, so I just decided to wait and watch over her. I think, when I came home, Wendell saw how exhausted I was, and he just decided not to wake me, but I should've gone with him.
Detective Murphy: Better that you weren't. Otherwise, you might not be here today.
Lynette Martinson: You're probably right, Detective. Still, I just wonder who could've done such a brutal act in a house of God on Easter?
Detective Murphy: That's what we're hoping you can help us with. Did Pastor Martinson have any enemies or anyone who wished him harm?
Lynette Martinson: If he did, I wouldn't know who or how. He was so kind and generous, positive with people. The people of the congregation and the community loved him.
Detective Parker: What about someone within the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit church? Someone who might have been jealous of his popularity?
Lynette Martinson: You mean Leo Ingram, the associate pastor?
Detective Murphy: Was Pastor Ingram jealous of Pastor Martinson?
Lynette Martinson: I wouldn't put it that way, but anyone with the kind of drive and passion that Leo has wouldn't be satisfied being the associate pastor forever.
Detective Parker: Did Pastor Ingram have plans to become a senior pastor any time soon?
Lynette Martinson: He might have. You know, we've known Leo forever, ever since we first moved here. He used to come for dinner every Sunday night at our house. When David and Emanuel were younger, he used to watch over them when we went to work.
Detective Murphy: How did Pastor Martinson become so successful with his church? I mean, most clergymen, even Oxford natives, don't create that kind of bond in the community.
Lynette Martinson: Wendell was so kind and generous. He believed in love and forgiveness, not sin and repentance. He was positive, and he made himself available. People came of their own free will to make confession to him.
Detective Parker: Did a lot of people make confessions to him?
Lynette Martinson: Yes, some. He made himself available all the time to people.
Detective Parker: Did he ever tell you about what they told him?
Lynette Martinson: Oh, no. He was very strict about confidentiality, and because of that, many people felt comfortable to come and talk to him.
Detective Murphy: Can you name some of those people?
Lynette Martinson: I can't, even if I wanted to. Wendell always met with them in private.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about Pastor Martinson's other church responsibilities within the church. I mean, what else was he involved in?
Lynette Martinson: Wendell wanted to do everything. There were the church services on Sunday in both the morning and the evening. And in between, there was the youth and the adult Sunday school services until Leo took over the youth Sunday school about a year ago. Tuesday and Thursday, we would host the bible study at our house. And Wednesday, he always went to the committee meetings. And he went to every fundraising event. He was always trying to bring more sheep into the flock.
Detective Murphy: Are you a member of the church committee, Mrs. Martinson?
Lynette Martinson: Yes. I'm really in charge of outreach and planning the summer annual retreat.
Detective Parker: Can you give us a quick rundown of the names and the jobs for the other members of the committee?
Lynette Martinson: Well, there's Leo. Then there's Fay Nutt, the church secretary. Joey Kemp, who's the church treasurer, and his cousin, Zina Jacinto. And she's part of the committee, but not really a voting member. We just give her an honorary membership because she's been so generous with the church over the years.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean by generous?
Lynette Martinson: She's very benevolent in her support for the church.
Detective Parker: You mean she donates a lot of money?
Lynette Martinson: Yes. She shares all of her gifts with the church, not just financial. She's very generous, very devout, a little bit eccentric.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean by eccentric?
Lynette Martinson: Well, last year, she wanted us to use raw meat at the communion to be the body and the blood of Christ. Wendell, of course, had to say no.
Detective Parker: Yes, that is strange indeed, Mrs. Martinson. In the weeks leading up to Easter, did you notice Pastor Martinson acting a little strange? Was he worried or on edge?
Lynette Martinson: No, I don't think so. There was one time when he left one of the Bible study meetings and took a phone call in his office. He was gone for about an hour.
Detective Parker: When did this happen?
Lynette Martinson: It was about three weeks ago.
Detective Murphy: Do you know what that call was about?
Lynette Martinson: I don't. Wendell said it was about church business. I didn't press him. But I when looked at the caller ID, I saw that the caller was Deirdre Littleton.
Detective Murphy: What do you know about her?
Lynette Martinson: Not much. I mean, I knew her slightly when she was a member of the church. She and her ex-husband and son used to attend. There was a little bit of a scandal around the time of their divorce. She left the church about a year ago, and her ex-husband and her son left shortly thereafter.
Detective Parker: Are you privy to any of the information about the divorce?
Lynette Martinson: No, not really. There was a little bit of a scandal that her ex-husband had an affair. All I know is that she initiated the divorce, and she won the custody of their son, Liam. I think he's a teenager now.
Detective Parker: Mrs. Martinson, can you think of any reason why Ms. Littleton would contact your husband, having left the church over a year ago?
Lynette Martinson: No, not really.
Detective Parker: Had Ms. Littleton sought out Pastor Martinson anytime before that?
Lynette Martinson: Possibly for some advice or some counsel, but it wouldn't have been anything more than that. Wendell would have told me. I mean, there were no secrets between us.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Martinson, if you were conducting this investigation, where would you start?
Lynette Martinson: Well, I hate myself for saying this, but the only people that would've known where Wendell was were people from the church community itself. They would have known where he was on Easter morning.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Martinson, does this quote mean anything to you: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and repents finds mercy”?
Lynette Martinson: Sounds like it's from the Bible, the Old Testament probably. Why do you ask?
Detective Murphy: It's just something that came up in the investigation.
Detective Parker: I think that's all for now. Thank you for your time, Mrs. Martinson.
Lynette Martinson: You're welcome, detectives. And please, please let me know when you've found the person who killed my Wendell. I want to see the face of the demon who's disguising himself as a man.
Interview ended – 10:38 a.m.