SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 22, 2014

Man gets 6-10 years for violent gas station robbery

SALEM — A Peabody man will serve six to 10 years in state prison for the violent robbery of a Salem gas station attendant in 2012.

Richard Martinez, 30, was found guilty yesterday of armed robbery and possession of heroin, following a weeklong trial in Salem Superior Court.

Prosecutor Greg Friedholm had argued to jurors that Martinez and his brother Edwin went to Spiros Energy, a gas station on Boston Street in Salem, with a plan to rob the business on July 3, 2012.

The clerk was counting out the night’s receipts when he looked up to see a man asking for cigarettes, something the business does not sell. The man, later identified as Martinez, then asked for $5 worth of gas.

Because the station is full service and has no self-service pumps, the clerk put the money he was counting into his pocket and went outside to pump the gas.

That was when Martinez pistol-whipped him, knocking him to the ground, and robbed him of the $960, ripping the front pocket of the clerk’s pants to get the money. The clerk suffered head wounds in the beating.

Bystanders, including a couple jogging in the area and a police officer’s daughter who was driving by, were able to give a description of the vehicle. One of the joggers was about to intervene when he saw the gun and backed off.

Police identified the car, which belonged to the girlfriend of Edwin Martinez, and questioned Richard Martinez. He admitted that he was in a confrontation at a gas station that night but insisted that it was in Peabody and that he was reacting when the clerk “got fresh” with his brother.

Defense attorney Kirk Bransfield argued that the discrepancy over the location, plus the fact that no one was able to positively identify his client as the robber, amounted to reasonable doubt.

Martinez was also found to be carrying heroin when he was arrested, leading to a charge for that.

The sentence was imposed yesterday afternoon by Salem Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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