The Department of Correctional Services at Fox Hill. (File photo)
By Ricardo Wells
Tribune Staff Reporter
A BAHAMIAN pastor sentenced to life plus 20 years on child rape charges in Georgia will be extradited after waiving his right to local legal proceedings yesterday.
In a shock declaration, Don Martin, 45, waived his right to a local hearing, begging the court to hasten his extradition back to the United States, claiming his life and well-being was being threatened almost daily by gangs at the Department of Correctional Services.
Martin, originally of Martin Town, Grand Bahama, was found guilty of repeatedly inappropriately touching a young girl in College Park and Atlanta from 2005 to 2011, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
He fled to The Bahamas after five days of testimony in that trial.
In his absence, he was convicted of rape, aggravated assault, child molestation and first-degree child cruelty.
Appearing before Magistrate Samuel McKinney yesterday, Martin declared he was “ready to go” insisting that his life was being threatened by gangs at the prison.
As a part of his declaration, Martin told the court the BDCS was inhumane and no place for a person to be kept.
He said his time there, which began back in December following his arrest at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, has made his decision to proceed with extradition easy.
After being further warned by Magistrate McKinney about the ramifications of his choice, Martin maintained he wanted to waive his rights and be extradited.
“Thank you,” he said with a smile. “I have been threatened by the gangs... Fox Hill ain’t no place for nobody to stay in... I am ready to go.”
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Neil Brathwaite guided the matter for the Attorney General’s Office, while attorney Alex Morley appeared for Martin.
When asked about the allegations made by Martin in court yesterday, Mr Morley deferred commentary to Wayne Munroe, QC, who had previously represented Martin in the matter.
When contacted by The Tribune on the allegations, Mr Munroe said the claims would have to be looked into moving forward.