An Aurora man with previous felony convictions will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty at trial of first-degree murder.
An Arapahoe County jury deliberated just over three hours on Nov. 3 before finding Caterrius Martin Jr., 35, guilty of Murder 1 – after deliberation in the shooting death of Michael Luther Ealy Jr., who was 30.
Martin is expected be sentenced to the mandatory penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole on Dec. 14, 2017.
Witnesses called Aurora police on July 18, 2016, after hearing gunshots at the High Hallows apartments off Exposition Avenue.
Responding officers found Ealy dead outside the building with multiple gunshot wounds. Eight spent shell casings were on the sidewalk, and witnesses on scene eventually pointed to Martin as the gunman who fled the scene. Ealy was pronounced dead at the hospital, and Martin was arrested by Aurora police the next day.
“The defendant gunned down the victim in a senseless murder because he was angry” Deputy District Attorney Rory Devlin told the jury in closing arguments.
Martin and Ealy knew each other through mutual friends and were drinking outside Martin’s apartment when they got into an argument and Martin brought out a gun. There was no evidence the argument was over drugs or gangs.
“This successful conviction was only possible because of the solid investigation and the courage of the witnesses who reported what they saw and testified at trial”, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Tom Byrnes, who prosecuted the case with Devlin.
Martin was previously convicted of felony possession of controlled substances in 2004 and 2005, and felony escape from fugitive hold in 2009. He had completed his prison sentence at the time of Ealy’s murder.
“The crimes of this defendant escalated, and he ultimately committed the worst crime and will now serve the ultimate sentence,” said District Attorney George Brauchler.