A Bellingham woman pleaded guilty to attempted murder Tuesday, May 24, for the third in a series of failed plots to kill her boyfriend’s business partner.
Charging papers allege Esmeralda Martin, 23, agreed to help her boyfriend murder Edward Davidson, then 75, at his home on Oat Coles Road near Everson.
On the morning of June 24, 2015, she shot Davidson in the chest and chased him around his house firing a handgun, until the gun ran out of ammo. Davidson survived.
The plea deal suggests a prison sentence of 13 years and 9 months for Martin. A sentencing date hasn’t been set. In the plea to attempted murder in the second degree, she promises to testify in court about the murder plot, and to take a polygraph test if authorities think she’s not telling the truth.
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Meanwhile her boyfriend, Sean Robert Head, 27, awaits trial on charges of attempted murder in the first degree and two counts of solicitation to commit murder in the first degree.
Last year Head was the lone heir to Davidson’s estate, an estimated value of $1 million to $2 million.
Head had problems with Davidson, though, or so Martin has told police: Davidson would try to have sexual relationships with young men he hired; Head suspected him of stealing jewelry from a 90-year-old woman whom Davidson had power of attorney over, and he saw Davidson as a “bad person” in general, she said.
As a result, Head tried twice to hire someone to kill him, according to Prosecutor Dave McEachran.
Charging papers allege Head offered $15,000 to a man to shoot Davidson to death in January 2015. Head gave that man, William “Bo” Evinger, a house key and a Kel-Tec 9 mm handgun, and Martin drove him to the Oat Coles Road house, according to Evinger.
Evinger thought it over for weeks before he backed out, he told police.
A detective spoke with a caretaker, who said she got into a heated argument with Davidson in winter 2015. Head heard about the fight the next day and offered the woman $50,000 to kill Davidson —$15,000 up front and $35,000 afterward, according to charging papers. The woman, Marissa Martinez, told police she thought it was a joke at first, but then they talked about it seriously for about a month, until Head said he had someone else to do it for him.
Months later, as plot after plot fell through, Martin says she offered to kill Davidson. She told police Head gave her a Kel-Tec 9mm handgun, earplugs and a black sweatshirt to keep the gunpowder off her skin. Then he showed her how to shoot, according to the charges.
Esmerelda Martin chased Edward Davidson around the house, firing at least eight shots. He suffered gunshot wounds to his armpit and chest, but he survived.
Her car wasn’t running well on the morning of June 24, so she borrowed her ex-husband’s car. Then she drove to Davidson’s house, where she told him they needed to talk about Head. First, though, she needed to use the bathroom. Davidson showed her where it was.
Once she came out, she opened fire.
She chased Davidson around the house, firing at least eight shots. He suffered gunshot wounds to his armpit and chest. He lived, and Martin panicked. She called Head on her regular phone, instead of a burner phone he’d given her, per the charges. She left the phone at the crime scene as she fled to meet Head at his yoga class — which was supposed to be his alibi, according to the charging papers.
He told her to go to Seattle and “disappear,” according to Martin. But she still needed to return the car. Police arrested her as she drove back to Lynden. She spoke with police at length. The gun was recovered in a garbage can a few houses from Head’s home on Franklin Street, where Martin says she dumped it.
Sheriff’s deputies talked with Head that day, too. He expressed disbelief as to why Martin would try to kill Davidson, charging papers say. He was booked into jail that evening. Head remains there in lieu of $1 million bail, cash only.
Head’s trial is tentatively set for Oct. 10, with a status hearing two weeks beforehand. He’s represented by Starck Follis, the chief criminal deputy public defender for Whatcom County. Follis was out of the office Tuesday and couldn’t be reached for comment.
As potential witnesses, the state lists Martin, Davidson, Evinger, Martinez and more than a dozen investigators.