BLANCHARD — The last few minutes of Justin Shane Martin's life as heard on a 911 recording are marked with violence, a direct contrast to how his friends remembered him.
Martin, 24, died Dec. 31 when he was shot with a 12-gauge shotgun as he tried to force his way through the front door of Sarah McKinley's rural Blanchard home.
The 18-year-old widow was alone with her 3-month-old son and Martin may have been in search of prescription medication, investigators said.
“Our family is working through this as best we can,” said Rod Martin, an uncle of Justin Martin who lives in Texas.
“We don't have many details about how and why this happened, but we do know that much of the speculation and rumors are not consistent with the Justin his many friends, family and community knew him to be.”
The family thinks that as investigators work through the shooting, a truer picture of Justin will be painted, “and we'll be able to grieve in peace,” Rod Martin said.
“This is a terrible ordeal for everyone involved, and we're praying for everyone dealing with the aftermath,” he said.
He was rodeo cowboy
According to an obituary posted on the website of McNeil's Funeral Service in Mustang, Justin Martin was a cowboy who “enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing, golf and bull riding and loved Lori Darlin his Australian shepherd.” His young life was marked by his love and dedication to animals, according to his obituary.
Services for the 2005 Mustang High School graduate were held Thursday at Cowboy Church in Medicine Park.
Martin died clutching a knife in his gloved left hand, according to an arrest affidavit. McKinley had barricaded the door with a couch, and Martin was aggressively knocking and managed to force the door open with his shoulder, the affidavit states.
Law officers found Martin's body slumped over the couch.
Many of the online tributes referred to Justin's “sweet smile and the great manners,” and said he was courteous, respectful and polite.
There were also tributes praying for peace for the family.
“Our family had the privilege of getting to know Justin this past summer,” a friend from Mustang wrote. “He was a super nice guy and very hard worker. Always made us laugh. A mutual friend invited him to church, and he came a few times when he wasn't working.
“He went forward during a salvation altar call and prayed,” the tribute continued. “I don't know if this was to be saved or to rededicate his life, but I do know that God was really speaking to his heart. He will be dearly missed by us all.”
A search of courthouse records did not indicate Justin Martin had a criminal history.
Dustin Louis Stewart, 29, who police say also was present during the home invasion but ran after he heard the gunshot, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with Martin's death. He told investigators he and Martin had ingested prescription pills that day, and Martin thought there might be painkillers in the house because Sarah McKinley's husband had recently died of cancer.
Oklahoma's felony murder law permits prosecutors to seek a murder conviction if an accomplice dies during the commission of another felony crime.