A Mount Holly man charged in the 2015 shooting death of a Marion man was given at least 26 years in prison in McDowell County Superior Court.
Myron Oral Martens, 32, of Red Fox Court, Mount Holly, was found guilty of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 317 to 393 months in prison. He was given credit for 720 days time served.
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Oct. 13, 2015, Marion Police officers were called to the Kwick Mart on East Court Street to investigate a victim parked and sitting in a blue Chevy Silverado beside the store. Upon arrival of officers, the man – 33-year-old Coty Ray Barker of Matilda Avenue in Marion – was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.
A search began throughout the East Marion area while four nearby schools were placed on a three-hour soft lockdown. Local businesses offered whatever information they had on a potential suspect moving through the area while Kwick Mart video surveillance picked up a subject leaving the passenger side of Barker’s truck and fleeing behind the store on foot.
The suspect, Martens, was arrested the following morning.
According to Marion Police Chief Allen Lawrence, Martens and Barker had been in contact on a few occasions through social media and Craigslist and arranged to meet at Kwick Mart.
“We think that’s where they originally met Tuesday morning,” said Lawrence at the time of the arrest. “The suspect got on the truck with our victim and they left the scene and were gone for a couple of hours.”
When the truck returned to the gas station, a dispute occurred inside the vehicle before Martens reportedly shot Barker and fled the scene, as corroborated by Marten’s confession.
Thirty minutes passed before a patron noticed Barker inside the truck in need of medical attention. He was pronounced dead shortly after officers arrived.
Ginny Rhodes contributed to this article.