The attorney for Christopher Robert Henry, who is accused of shooting and killing Jonathan Martinez of Arkansas City, said his client is seeking to have the case dismissed on a “stand your ground” claim because he was acting in self-defense and is therefore immune from prosecution.
Scott Loftis, the Ponca City, Okla. lawyer representing Henry, said there are witness accounts that Martinez tried to run over Henry with Henry’s own vehicle, and that his client shot Martinez in self-defense.
Loftis said Henry was trying to retrieve the vehicle, and that Martinez started to drive off in it while Henry’s hand was inside the open window. Henry, fearing he would be run over, then shot Martinez, Loftis said.
Loftis said that, if the same thing happened to a law enforcement officer, they would have been found justified in shooting the driver. He thinks the same standard should also be applied to Henry’s case.
“Obviously, a prerequisite for use of force is that a person has to be in fear for their life,” Loftis said. “That situation put my client in fear for his life. Loftis said this was a situation his client didn’t want to be in, and “unfortunately, someone lost their life.”
A hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. August 4 in Cowley County District Court. During the hearing, evidence will be presented regarding the dismissal motion.
The court date will also serve as a preliminary hearing if the case is not dismissed. If the judge agrees with the defense after hearing the evidence, the case will be dismissed, said Cowley County Attorney Larry Schwartz via email. If the judge does not agree with the defense, the case will move forward.
Henry is charged with second degree murder in the shooting Martinez on April 3 in the 700 block of North B Street. Martinez and his vehicle were located on the U.S. 77 Bypass a short time after the shooting.
Martinez was transported to South Central Kansas Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was then transported to a Wichita hospital, where he passed away.
Ark City police named Henry as the suspect, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Henry was arrested April 7 after turning himself in at the Ark City police station.
A defendant’s guilt or innocence is to be determined by a court of law.
• A status conference for Marty Anderson will be held at 2:30 p.m. July 6. Anderson is accused of attempted second degree murder, among other charges, after allegedly shooting his ex-wife and holding her and her two daughters hostage at their residence in November 2018.
• Steven Eugene Anstaett has pleaded guilty to an amended charge of non-residential burglary after robbing Graves Drugstore in Winfield in February. Sentencing will be July 17.
• Dakota A. Gaskill was convicted on June 8 of one count of electronic solicitation of a child. Sentencing will be at 1:30 p.m. July 17.
• Juan L. Pu was sentenced on April 27 to 59 months in prison for a conviction of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.