Mixed verdict returned for Martein
Jury finds former Nashua resident guilty of falsifying physical evidence
NASHUA – A Superior Court jury on Wednesday convicted former Nashua resident Travis Martein on one of three felony charges he’d faced in connection with the 2016 melee involving a shooting and stabbing on Paxton Terrace.
The jury of eight women and five men, including the alternate juror, deliberated for roughly four hours before returning a guilty verdict on the charge of falsifying physical evidence, which accused Martein of discarding the knife with which police said he stabbed a man in the neck during the melee.
But jurors acquitted Martein on the two counts of criminal threatening he’d also faced, siding with defense Attorney Paul Borchardt’s argument that Martein stabbed the man and brandished an unloaded shotgun that night out of fear for others’ well-being.
The verdict brought to an end a two-day trial in Hillsborough County Superior Court South, which drew a number of observers on both sides, including several Nashua police officers who worked the case.
Presiding Judge Charles Temple subsequently scheduled Martein’s sentencing hearing for Dec. 8 in the Nashua court. Martein remains free on bail pending the hearing.
Martein was arrested in late September 2016, more than two months after police were called to 15 Paxton Terrace early the morning of July 9 for a large disturbance involving gunfire.
Martein was one of two people who sustained serious injuries in the fracas. He was shot in the thigh with a 9 mm handgun that another party-goer pulled, according to reports, after seeing Martein come down a staircase brandishing a shotgun.
Martein was charged with stabbing another man in the neck moments later, telling police he feared the man would also shoot him.
The shooter with the 9 mm gun likewise told police he fired toward Martein “in self defense … he feared that Martein “was going to shoot people,” according to police reports.
During closing arguments presented Wednesday morning, Borchardt told jurors that Martein was bleeding profusely from the gunshot wound while headed to the hospital in a car.
The route he took became a topic of debate. The prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Kent Smith, argued that Martein drove well out of his way in order to discard the knife, and initially didn’t tell police he stabbed someone then tossed the knife.
But Borchardt called it all but impossible for a person to concentrate in a “cold, calculated” way on getting rid of a knife while “bleeding out from a gunshot wound.”
Martein didn’t initially mention to a detective the stabbing or knife, Borchardt told the jury, because he was about to be rushed into surgery.
“This was a life-threatening injury,” he said.
The next day, about 12 hours after his surgery, Martein was up front with police, Borchardt said.
“It was the first time he was really able to talk to the detectives about what happened. He told them everything … told them exactly where the knife was.
“There is no evidence Travis tried to hide anything,” Borchardt said.
But Smith, during his closing argument, told jurors that Martein “wasn’t even close to the hospital when he threw the knife.
“He drove all the way to where the Broad Street Parkway was under construction to throw it away,” Smith said.
At the party, Smith said, it was Martein who incited the melee.
“None of this would have happened if Mr. Martein hadn’t decided to play John Wayne,” Smith said, telling jurors “you wouldn’t be sitting there, I wouldn’t be standing here, and Mr. Martein wouldn’t be sitting over there on trial,” he said, gesturing toward the defense table.
“It was all because he wanted to look cool, coming down the stairs with a shotgun,” Smith added.
Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Telegraph_DeanS.