Verden Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearm and Ammunition Charges Following Domestic Violence Incident Involving Discharge of Shotgun

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Last week, STEPHEN LEE MARTIN, 31, of Verden, Oklahoma, entered a plea of guilty on federal charges of being a felon illegally in possession of a firearm and ammunition, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester. 

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Verden Police Department (VPD) officers responded to a domestic call at Martin’s residence on March 20, 2022, but he was not there.  The affidavit further indicates that, several hours later, VPD encountered Martin and observed blood on his shorts and observed injuries on the face and neck of a female who was present during the encounter.  According to the affidavit, earlier that day, Martin had discharged a shotgun near the victim’s head and had forced her into his truck with the use of the shotgun.  Martin then held the victim in the truck against her will before he eventually attempted to hide the shotgun and ammunition in a ditch, where law enforcement later found them.

Federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms or ammunition.  Public records indicate that Martin had prior felony convictions for Aggravated Attempt to Elude a Police Officer, Malicious Injury and Destruction of Property, and Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in Oklahoma County District Court in November, 2013.

On June 8, 2022, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Martin.  Count 1 charged him with being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm, Count 2 charged him with kidnapping, and Count 3 charged him being a felon in possession of ammunition.  Last week, Martin entered pleas of guilty to Counts 1 and 3 of the indictment.  Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.  At sentencing, Martin faces on each count a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.  Martin has been in federal custody since April 11, 2022.

This case is the result of investigations by the Verden Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, with assistance from District Attorney Jason M. Hicks of the Sixth Prosecutorial District.  Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Powers is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of “Operation 922,” the Western District of Oklahoma’s implementation of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  “Operation 922” is the local implementation of the PSN initiative in the Western District of Oklahoma.  Specifically, “Operation 922” focuses on domestic violence abusers who are found in possession of firearms or ammunition. 

Reference is made to public filings for more information.