Man Gets 75 Years to Life for Kidnapping 95-Year-Old Casper Woman
The man who kidnapped a 95-year-old woman, bound her with duct tape and put her into the trunk of her own car before leading police on a high-speed chase in March will likely spend most of his life in prison.
District Judge Catherine Wilking sentenced 21-year-old Kyle McCabe Martin to a prison term of 75 years to life for aggravated kidnapping, as well as concurrent terms of 20 to 25 years for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.
Martin kidnapped the victim on March 20 after breaking into her home. According to an affidavit of probable cause, Martin later told investigators that he was with an accomplice when they entered the victim's home and threatened her with a replica handgun. Martin claimed that his accomplice hit the victim with the gun, resulting in a bloody head wound.
The men then bound the woman with duct tape and put her into the trunk of her own car, which the men then stole.
During an August change-of-plea hearing, Martin told Wilking that he left the accomplice at a residence in Mills and took off. Police spotted the stolen vehicle at the Eastridge Mall and gave chase after Martin refused to give himself up.
Martin led police on a high-speed chase down a bumpy dirt road, with the victim still in the trunk. Martin ended up getting the car stuck and took off on foot before he was taken into custody.
The victim remained in the trunk for roughly six hours after she was kidnapped. Martin, while in police custody, said that he called his mother and told her to notify police of the victim's' whereabouts.
After police found the victim, she was hospitalized for weeks and suffered a cardiac event.
The victim's granddaughter gave a victim impact statement during Thursday's sentencing hearing. She described her grandmother as a woman who, before being beaten and kidnapped, was happy and healthy.
"She was known to have the greatest flower garden on the block," the woman said. "She was not your typical 95-year-old."
"This is not our grandmother today," she continued, saying that Martin's crimes left the victim depressed, confused and constantly traumatized by nightmares. She is now, her granddaughter said, barely self-sufficient.
"This was the act of repeat criminals. This was the act of monsters," the woman said. "He has taken away her life."
Detective Anthony Stedillie of the Casper Police Department testified during the sentencing hearing. He said that prior to the March 20 kidnapping, he had been investigating Martin for a series of vehicle thefts and burglaries in which the suspect stole vehicle keys.
Stedillie said he had contact with Martin during the course of that investigation, with their last conversation taking place during a March 19 phone call. In that call, Stedillie asked Martin to participate in a police interview as part of the investigation.
Stedillie also said that Martin at one point asked a neighbor of the woman who was kidnapped about the victim's house and whether an elderly person lived there. Assistant District Attorney Mike Blonigen argued Thursday that based on that detail, it was clear that Martin's March 20 break-in was premeditated and specifically targeted the victim.
Stedillie testified further that Martin named a number of people as the second perpetrator of the March 20 kidnapping, but police investigated and ruled those people out as suspects. Only Martin has been charged in connection to the kidnapping.
The person who called police to notify them that the victim was still in the trunk following Martin's arrest, Stedillie testified, also said that the victim was in her 60s and involved in the drug trade. They also said, according to Stedillie, that Martin -- who was also involved with a cartel -- was offered $10,000 by a cartel to kidnap her.
In describing the impact of Martin's crimes, Assistant District Attorney Mike Blonigen told Wilking that Martin and his accomplice deliberately set out to break into the victim's home.
"It's her one safe place," Blonigen said of the victim's house. "She doesn't have that anymore."
Of the victim's condition, Blonigen said that she has taken a sharp turn downward.
"She lives the last days of her life in fear," he said. "She is an incredibly vulnerable victim, which is a large aggravating factor in this case."
"The premeditated nature of this and the vulnerability of the victim is what strikes me the most," Blonigen continued.
Kerri Johnson, Martin's defense attorney, did not argue the nature of the crime and said that Martin has taken responsibility for what he did.
"There's absolutely no dispute that this crime was horrific; that it caused great damage to the victim and her family," Johnson said. "I believe that [Martin] feels extremely remorseful and horrible for the harm he caused to an innocent victim."
Johnson said that Martin has spent roughly a third of his life in institutions, having been first jailed for theft at age 13 in Washington State. She said that juveniles who face incarceration at an early age must adapt to survive and then deal with behavioral issues stemming from such situations.
She also said that Martin's criminal history is largely theft-related and did not indicate any propensity toward violence before the March 20 kidnapping. Johnson added that Martin and been assaulted many times in the Natrona County Detention Center since his arrest, largely over the kidnapping, but has not fought back.
If Martin had intended to kill the victim and hide her body, as Blonigen had earlier floated as a possible motive for the kidnapping, he would not have made the phone call from the jail notifying his mother of the victim's whereabouts, Johnson said.
Reading from a letter Martin had written her from jail, Johnson said that Martin had faced significant struggles associated with drug abuse. He relocated to Casper from Riverton, and shortly after his arrival started using methamphetamine.
At one point, Johnson said, Martin was awake for 26 days straight.
Having been previously arrested, Martin was released from the Natrona County jail on March 12. He was awake for the entirety of the following eight days until his arrest following the kidnapping and car chase on March 20.
"My mom's broken, my dad has disowned me, my sister's only here because she feels like she has to be," Martin wrote, as recited by Johnson. She added that Martin's parents were present in the courtroom on Thursday, but did not wish to make a statement to the court.
Johnson called the crime senseless and said even Martin himself likely did not know why he didn't stop at stealing the victim's car, rather than kidnapping her. Still, she said that she believes Martin is worthy of redemption.
"I think there is always hope for someone like Mr. Martin to change," Johnson said.
In his statement to the court, Martin offered an apology to the victim and her family, a number of whom were present in the courtroom.
"I feel very bad," Martin told them. "It wasn't right, and I apologize."
"Since I was fourteen years old, I've been in and out of institutions," Martin said. "Sometimes I feel like that's the only thing I know. It's the only time I can succeed."
He added that he considered graduating from an institutional boot camp program was his greatest life achievement.
"When I came here, my older cousins, all they were into was meth," Martin continued. "When I came here, meth grabbed ahold of me and made me someone I'm not."
Before pronouncing sentence in the case, Wilking explained that she was sympathetic regarding Martin's prior experiences. However, she said, she found the victim impact statements "extremely compelling."
"Aggravated kidnapping is one of the most serious crimes in the state of Wyoming," Wilking continued, adding that aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary were close in seriousness, based upon the severity of the penalties provided for by the Wyoming Legislature.
Wilking said it was difficult to see photos of the victim, bloodied, as she was recovered from the trunk of her car on March 20.
"All of that is horrifying and terrorized her," Wilking said. "This was a brazen crime, to say the very least. It was certainly premeditated."
Regarding restitution, Blonigen indicated that the presentence investigation report did not include money paid to cover the victim's medical bills, nor did it include the cost of the caretaker which the victim now requires.
Wilking said that the prosecution could request a separate restitution hearing to address those issues and arrive at a final figure which Martin would owe, though his ability to pay would be in question due to the lengthy term of incarceration.
This developing story will be updated with further details from Thursday's sentencing hearing.