GATE CITY, Va. (WJHL) – A Hawkins County man convicted of first-degree murder in July 2021 has been sentenced to life in prison.
After a four-day trial, John Robert Martin Jr., 48, was convicted of murder with an additional three-year charge of use of a firearm in the commission of a Felony Offense, according to a release from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
It was determined that Martin killed 20-year-old Nicholas Salerno by shooting him several times in the Yuma area of Scott County. Martin reportedly killed Salerno after discovering that he was in a relationship with his wife, who had filed for divorce.
Following the shooting, Martin took a picture of Salerno’s body, drove back to his home in Hawkins County, tied his wife up with zip ties and made her look at the photo.
Members of the victim’s family spoke at the sentencing hearing saying that Salerno’s death was a terrible loss, according to the release.
“I am very pleased with the conviction and the life sentence that was handed down today. The victim’s family has been waiting for justice and today hopefully will begin the process of healing,” said Russell County Commonwealth’s Attorney Zack Stoots.
The case was investigated by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police. Russell County Commonwealth’s Attorney Zack Stoots was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case.