FORT WAYNE — Dontay Martin "created his own war zone" in the early morning of Sept. 9, firing dozens of bullets into the night, striking an emergency vehicle.
According to an area newspaper, Martin appeared not to care about what the judge was saying or the lengthy prison sentence he was facing, as was the case during his entire trial last month.
Before Monday’s hearing began, and as it continued, Martin sat relaxed in the jury box – looking everywhere but at the judge.
“You created your own war zone out there, Mr. Martin,” Surbeck said. “I couldn’t help but be reminded of the stories coming out of places like Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Martin was one of two men arrested and charged in connection with the September shooting attack on an ambulance and a vehicle following behind.
Traneilous L. Jackson, 24, was also charged. He was sentenced last week to a total of 60 years in prison, as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against Martin. Nineteen bullets penetrated the walls and glass of the ambulance and 18 more tore through the doors of the Chevrolet Impala following behind.
A Three Rivers Ambulance Authority advanced EMT was injured by bullet fragments and shrapnel inside the ambulance. All three passengers in the trailing car suffered gunshot wounds. One woman was hit at least six times. Two of the women were sisters of the patient in the ambulance, and the other a friend.
The patient in the ambulance – Jermaine Loyall – had been stabbed in a fight inside Club V at the Piere’s nightclub complex. Jackson punched Loyall after he felt he had been “disrespected” inside the club.
After the fight, when Loyall was loaded into the ambulance, Jackson, Martin and one other man got into a car driven by Alfonso Chappell and gave chase, reported an area newspaper.
Both men were arrested shortly after the shooting, and Martin was linked to one of the guns found by a bloody cut on his hand. Neither Chappell nor the fourth man has been charged in connection with the shootings.
During Monday’s hearing, Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Jason Custer told Surbeck about Martin’s extensive criminal history – which includes multiple battery charges as a juvenile and a federal gun conviction as an adult.
According to testimony during the hearing, Martin had been out of prison all of 48 hours before the shooting.
“The behavior here is beyond outrageous,” Custer said. “The community doesn’t deserve having someone like him on the streets. … The defendant treated it like the O.K. Corral. He lives outside the norms of society. … He provides no value to this community.”
As Custer argued for the maximum sentence of 210 years in prison, members of Martin’s friends and family gathered in the courtroom shook their heads and sighed.
Martin maintained his innocence, saying he was “lied on” by Jackson and others. The gun was in his hand because someone threw it in his lap and he merely threw it out the window. And he was adamant he does not shoot at “females.”
“I was raised by a single mother,” he said, angrily. “That is not my M.O.”
After he was done speaking, he said, “Allahu Akbar” – an Arabic phrase commonly used in Islam meaning “God is great.”
Others in the audience answered back, “Allahu Akbar.”
Before Surbeck sentenced Martin, the defendant’s mother spoke, asking the judge to have mercy on her son.
“We all have an opportunity to change,” she said, asking the sentence not be so long that Martin loses hope and gives up.
“We all have to be responsible for our actions,” she said.
Surbeck sentenced Martin to 40 years each on four counts of attempted murder, and ordered those sentences served one after another. Martin received six years for battery with a deadly weapon and two years each for two charges of criminal recklessness. All those sentences were also to be served one after another.
He received two years on a felony charge of criminal gang activity and an additional year on a misdemeanor gun charge. Those sentences were to be served at the same time as the others, for a total of 170 years.
Surbeck also revoked Martin’s probation in an earlier, unrelated case of resisting law enforcement.
He asked Martin whether he wanted to appeal his conviction and sentence.
“Yes, most definitely,” Martin said.