On Friday, July 29 the death of 19-year-old, Derontae Martin was initially ruled as a suicide at the time of his autopsy, but a second autopsy reveals that his gunshot wound was not self-inflicted.
As previously reported, on April 25, Madison County Sheriff’s Department announced the results of a preliminary investigation on its Facebook page four days after Martin’s death and ruled it to be from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a Fredericktown, Missouri home.
According to KSDK, Martin’s mother, Kimberly Lotts, believed that it was not a suicide and hired Dr. Jane Turner, a former pathologist for the St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office, to perform a second autopsy.
“There are no findings on my examination of a contact gunshot wound or a near contact gunshot wound or a near gunshot wound or close or even intermediate,” Turner said.
“This entrance wound is what would be called in forensic pathology a distant entrance wound.”
“The end of the gun would have been 2 or 3 feet or more away,” she added.
On April 23, Martin went to a party with friends at a home to attend an 18th birthday party for the daughter of James Wade, whose house was decorated with multiple Confederate flags.
Wade frequently posted racially prejudiced posts on his Facebook.
One of his infamous posts is of a photo of a Black man in chains captioned, “My great great great grandfather’s tractor.”
Another meme featured a black dog with the caption, “I had a black dog once. I named him Foodstamps.”
“I was born in the South, and I’m not ashamed to show the Confederate flag or anything,” he told the outlet
“[The racist memes] are already on Facebook, I just shared them, it’s not like I made them up or put them there, right? I’m not a racist.”
Despite this, Wade claimed that he didn’t know how Martin ended up dead at his house.
Martin’s family was able to ultimately convince the county to hold a coroner’s inquest, and a jury reviewed the evidence of the case and determined whether Martin’s cause of death was accidental, suicide, from natural causes or by violence.
After a short time, the jury overruled the county coroner’s finding and determined that the former football star was murdered.
“I am happy,” said Lotts. “I am happy that somebody else saw. Glory to God. I could just shout. But we got a long way to go, so we’ll just keep on praying and keep on trusting in the Lord.”
An investigation is now open to uncover the person responsible for Martin’s death.