Hawkins County man found guilty of 1st degree murder


GATE CITY, Va. (WJHL) — A Scott County jury found a Hawkins County man guilty on multiple charges including first-degree murder on Friday, July 9 following a four-day trial.

According to court documents, the Commonwealth presented evidence that John Robert Martin Jr. murdered Nicholas Pierce — also known as Nicholas Salerno — on May 3, 2018, after discovering Salerno was in a relationship with Martin’s wife, who had filed for divorce.

The Commonwealth proved that Martin shot Salerno multiple times in the Yuma community of Scott County.

Testimony revealed that after murdering Salerno, Martin took a picture of the body before driving back to his home in Hawkins County, where he tied up his wife with zip ties and showed her the photo.

The conviction in this case was obtained due to the hard work of multiple law enforcement agencies over two states, and the victim’s family is very appreciative. Our office hopes this conviction will allow the healing process to begin for the family of Nicholas Salerno.

Russell County Commonwealth Attorney Zack Stoots

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police investigated the case.

Martin previously pled guilty to abducting his wife in Hawkins County.

He is scheduled to be sentenced for the murder on Nov. 3 in the Scott County, Virginia Circuit Court.

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