The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office announced yesterday afternoon Justin Thomas Martell, pled guilty to charges of Strangulation Felony Constituting Domestic Violence, Assault in the Fourth Degree Felony Constituting Domestic Violence, and Tampering with a Witness.
Mr. Martell was sentenced to four years in the Oregon Department of Corrections.
The charge of Strangulation Felony Constituting Domestic Violence arose from an incident that occurred at a residence in Medford on July 24, 2022. On that day, at approximately 10:38AM, officers from the Medford Police Department responded to a report of a domestic violence incident that had occurred. When law enforcement arrived, the victim, Jessica Engberg-Morrison, reported that Mr. Martell, her boyfriend, had strangled her. Mr. Martell became angry with her after she had asked him to do some household task. After he became angry, she decided to leave. As she grabbed the door to leave, Mr. Martell approached her, grabbed her throat with one of his hands and pushed her to the ground. He then grabbed her neck with both hands and strangled her until she lost consciousness and urinated herself. Ms. Engberg-Morrison reported that she woke up minutes later to find that Mr. Martell had fled and left her there.
The investigating officer observed that the victim had marks on her neck consistent with handprints.
The charge of Assault in the Fourth Degree arose from a separate incident that occurred on November 11, 2022, at a Motel 6 in Medford. On that day, at approximately 9:43AM, officers from MPD responded to a report of a physical altercation that occurred there between a male and female.
The victim, Ms. Engberg-Morrison, was contacted and the investigating officer observed she had small cuts on her face that were actively bleeding. She reported that she had been parked in her vehicle and Mr. Martell showed up and approached her asking for some of his property back. When Ms. Engberg- Morrison refused to do so, Mr. Martell grabbed a dog leash with a padlock at the end and swung it full force hitting and shattering her driver-side window, which caused the cuts to her face. Ms. Engberg- Morrison said she managed to drive away, but could see Mr. Martell following her. She pulled into a gas station parking when she saw an MPD officer arriving on scene.
The charge of Tampering with a Witness arose during the time, from November 17, 2022 and December 23, 2022, when Mr. Martell was being held on and awaiting trial on the charges related to the earlier two incidents. During a jail phone call on December 19, 2022, Ms. Engberg-Morrison expressed how she was not looking forward to going to court for his trials. In response, Mr. Martell asked her, “Why are you going?” Ms. Engberg-Morrison responded telling him she is under subpoena. Mr. Martell then told her, “Yeah, if they can’t find you, then you don’t have to go…I wouldn’t go. It’d be really good if you didn’t go. Very good…if you love me, you wouldn’t go.” In jail calls between the two over the next couple of days, Mr. Martell tells Ms. Engberg-Morrison that if she does not show up for court the charges would be dismissed and Ms. Engberg-Morrison assures him that she will not show up.
This prosecution was handled by Deputy District Attorney Patrick P. Green.