Ex-NFL OL Jonathan Martin Will Go to Trial over 2018 Instagram Post

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2019

This is a 2015 photo of Jonathan Martin of the Carolina Panthers NFL football team. This image reflects the Carolina Panthers active roster as of Monday, June 15, 2015 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)
Uncredited/Associated Press

A judge has ruled former NFL offensive lineman Jonathan Martin will face trial on multiple felony counts related to an Instagram post he made in 2018.

Nancy Dillon of the New York Daily News reported Martin searched Richie Incognito's name online before ordering a gun. Martin tagged Incognito and former Harvard-Westlake School classmates in an Instagram post with the caption, "When you're a bully victim & a coward, your options are suicide, or revenge."

The post featured a photo of a shotgun with 19 shells and also included the hashtags "#MiamiDolphins" and "#HarvardWestlake."

Martin's lawyer, Winston McKesson, argued the post didn't constitute a criminal threat. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Shellie Samuels ruled it's possible the caption could have been construed as a mass shooting threat, however.

"It does say suicide or revenge. That does sound equivocal on its face. However, on the photo, there are 19 shells. Suicide would take one shot. Nineteen shells is a mass shooting, killing more than one person, revenge," Samuels said. "I think that's unequivocal enough (under the law) to be a criminal threat."

Det. Peter Doomanis testified that Incognito was so fearful following Martin's Instagram post that he drove two hours to an FBI safe house.

"He described being in a state of panic. He was in fear," Doomanis said.

Incognito bullied Martin during their time as teammates with the Miami Dolphins, ultimately leading to his release from the team. Martin was later traded to the San Francisco 49ers but spent only one season with the franchise.

Harvard-Westlake closed the school for one day after Martin's post.

A fourth felony count was dropped when former Dolphins teammate Mike Pouncey testified he did not take Martin's threat seriously.

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