An imprisoned gang member arguing for a new murder trial based on sworn affidavits from witnesses who claimed they lied on the stand has admitted to being the mastermind of a scheme to coerce those witnesses into making their statements.
Lamonte Rydell Martin, 25, a member of the 1 9 Dipset gang who is serving a life sentence without parole for the 2006 slaying of Christopher Lynch, was granted another hearing Friday in Hennepin County by the Minnesota Supreme Court based on the series of affidavits by witnesses who recanted their earlier testimony implicating Martin.
However, in a conspiracy that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said “would be the envy of any movie or television producer,” those affidavits were based on a plan to bribe and intimidate witnesses both in and out of prison.
Martin and nine others already have pleaded guilty to charges ranging from bribery to disorderly conduct in the case. An additional five years was tacked on to Martin’s term.
Hennepin County attorney’s office spokesman Chuck Laszewski declined to say whether the results of a hearing held last week for a new trial are now a foregone conclusion given that they are based on false statements. Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum will take final briefs next month before issuing a decision.
A three-year investigation by Minneapolis police and the Minnesota Department of Corrections revealed the wide-ranging scheme that included Martin’s mother, Heidi Mastin. She pleaded guilty to bribery after admitting to funneling money into the prison account of one of the witnesses Martin had targeted. Others threatened to coercing or otherwise threatening witnesses with violence.