An accused rapist who was found not guilty in a previous trial was sentenced to eight years in prison as part of a plea deal reached this week in another rape case.
Markeith D. Martin, 48, of Daytona Beach, will also be designated a sexual predator, according to the plea agreement.
Martin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to an amended charge of sexual battery (special circumstances), which was punishable by up to 30 years in prison. It was a downgraded charge from the one he was about to go to trial on for – sexual battery with a deadly weapon/force – which was punishable by up to life in prison.
Martin also pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, which is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Martin was adjudicated guilty. He received credit for 1,254 days' time served in the Volusia County Branch Jail, or nearly 3½ years.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped charges against Martin in a third rape case.
Assistant State Attorney Bryan Shorstein texted a statement to The News-Journal in which he wrote: "Given the totality of the circumstances and our conversations with the victims, we felt this was an appropriate outcome. This predator will now be off the streets for many years."
Martin’s defense attorney, Bruce Johns, said they were about to pick a jury on Wednesday, but Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano suggested that he and the prosecutor try to reach an agreement.
Johns said he and Martin had been “pretty confident” about defeating the rape charge, but were concerned about the aggravated battery charge, which prosecutors could have sought to enhance with a longer prison term.
“The thing that sold it was this way he will get out of prison under four years,” Johns said. “The other way he would die in prison.”
He said Assistant State Attorney Ashley Terwilleger would not budge on the sexual predator designation.
“It's a tough designation,” Johns said. “Mostly, it’s tough to live anywhere.”
And even if Johns had won this trial, Martin still faced another sexual battery case that could lock him away for life.
"To win three straight, you are really pressing your luck and I have yet to see anybody do it," Johns said.
He said he was glad the cases were resolved.
"You got victims that they want to go on with their lives. It’s a tough thing for everybody. I have a lot of sympathy for the victims and I have a lot of sympathy for everybody involved," Johns said.
Markeith Martin was found not guilty in a previous case
Johns and Terwilleger squared off in June in a case in which Martin was accused of raping another woman.
A jury returned a not guilty verdict against Martin in that 2017 case in which a woman said Martin forced her to have sex with him after they smoked crack cocaine and marijuana in a Daytona Beach motel room.
The plea agreement on Wednesday wrapped up two cases against Martin. In the case he was about to stand trial for, Martin was accused on Sept. 28, 2018, of choking, beating and raping a woman he had met several days earlier at a gas station, according to a charging affidavit.
In the other case closed by the plea deal, Martin was accused on Aug. 1, 2018, of raping a woman who had gone out for a bicycle ride about 6:15 a.m. The brakes on the woman’s bike's broke, according to a charging affidavit. As she tried to fix it, Martin walked up and offered to help her, but she declined. Martin then choked her, threatened to stab her and raped her, a charging affidavit states.
Martin was also sentenced in 2019 to five years in state prison after he entered a plea of no contest to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and felony battery with one prior. In that case, he punched a woman and threatened her with a knife.
In April, Martin was sentenced to 36 months in prison for lewd and lascivious conduct in front of a female correctional officer in 2020.
All of Martin's sentences will run concurrently.
At the trial in June, Martin did not testify but he expressed his gratitude to jurors as they filed out of the courtroom after the verdict.
“God bless you all. The truth will come out,” Martin said.
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Daytona Beach man sentenced in rape case, designated sexual predator