Joshua Michael Martin: Cop killer

Most hated man in St. Paul speaks from prison

Martin approached the car and Jones came up behind him. Jones leveled his gun at Bergeron and shot him in the head, point blank.

As Martin stared at Bergeron slumped dead, he knew there was no turning back.

"It just happened so fast," he says. "I knew from that point I was screwed."

Jason Jones was shot trying to escape the incident
courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff
Jason Jones was shot trying to escape the incident

AT HIS MOTHER'S apartment a short time later, Martin paced the carpeted floor, wrestling with a decision. Maybe he should skip town, go to Arizona to hide out with his stepdad. His mother, still in her pajamas, argued he should turn himself in.

His cell phone rang. Jason Jones was dead, a friend told him.

Sprinting from the grisly scene, Jones had gone one way, Martin the other. While Martin managed to get out of the area, Jones became ensnared in the police perimeter. After hiding for several hours, Jones had tried to walk past a cop holding the line. When the officer asked him to stop, Jones lunged, smashing him in the face with a huge metal bolt. The two struggled for the cop's gun, until the police officer managed to squeeze off several rounds. Jones fell and died in the street.

Martin fell apart. Between furious sobs, he repeated, "That's my brother."

Martin called his stepfather to ask what he should do. Instead of helping him skip town, his stepfather called a friend, a St. Paul police officer, and told him where Martin was. Soon the cops were calling on Martin's cell, telling him to turn himself in.

Instead, Martin hugged his mother and walked out her front door, right past the squad cars that were just screeching up. A friend picked him up at Selby and Western, and drove him to an East Side apartment.

Locked inside his friend's apartment bathroom, Martin lit up a spliff. The cops, he knew, were tracking his cell phone and closing in.

"If I was going to die, I was going to die high," he says with a dry laugh.

He dragged the blade of a steak knife down his wrists until the blood ran down his hands.

His cell rang again—it was his stepfather's friend, the cop.

"He knows my family. He started talking about kids," says Martin.

Swayed by thoughts of his two young sons and his mom, Martin agreed to turn himself in.

"Some days I wish they had killed me," he says.

The case was resolved swiftly with a plea deal. Martin appeared three times, his side of the courtroom nearly empty, the other side packed.

"Put this monster away from us for as long as time will allow," one of Bergeron's nephews told the judge during sentencing.

IN HIS NEW home in Stillwater, Martin has discovered an unexpected side to his notoriety—fans.

"A couple guys thanked me," he says. "They shook my hand and said, 'Thank you.' I don't think it's nothing to be proud of."

After the interview, he stands and walks through the gate accompanied by a guard, his eyes on the floor. He'll spend the rest of his day in his cell. He's hoping for a job working in the kitchen—an attempt to rekindle that lost dream of cooking school.

Nevertheless, Martin's vision of his future is as bleak as his current surroundings.

"It's going to be hard when I get out—a cop killer," he says. "Who's going to hire somebody that killed a cop?" 

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