Parents of murdered man wait 15 years for answers

Posted at 6:03 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 23:34:26-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Almost 15 years after a man was robbed and murdered in South Nashville, his parents are still waiting for justice.

David Martin, 26, was living on Packard Drive in South Nashville at what was then called the Bavaria Apartments. On August 21, 2007, he came home around 11:30 p.m. after picking up a pizza.

Metro Police said a man described as young, tall and skinny approached David and asked to use his cell phone. When David went to set down his pizza before handing the man his phone, the man forced his way into David's apartment. He robbed David, his brother and a friend at gunpoint, and got away with $7.

David then grabbed a gun he had recently bought for protection and confronted the robber. The suspect shot David in the head. David was rushed to the hospital, but could not survive his injuries.

"He wasn’t doing anything wrong," said JoAnne Martin, David's mother. "He wasn’t involved in any illegal activity. He was just on vacation and trying to carry a pizza to his apartment."

With no arrests or leads one year after his death, David's parents, Chris and JoAnne Martin, returned to the intersection near his apartment complex and handed out fliers to bring attention to the case.

"When your child is murdered, what else do you have to do but try and bring justice to that?" said JoAnne. "We really wanted to get this guy."

They said David was well-known in the apartment complex because he worked as a security guard and patrolled the parking lot at night with his dog in exchange for a discount on rent. However, he was forced to surrender his dog after it bit his brother. The same day he gave up his dog, he was killed.

His parents said David overcame a troubled childhood, and was in a good place when he was killed. He had a job managing a restaurant, and had goals of owning his own restaurant and getting married.

"I think he was just starting to really reach his potential when he was murdered," said JoAnne.

David grew up in a broken home and ended up in the foster care system. The Martins adopted him when he was 13 years old. He attended high school at Benton Hall Academy, and found his footing on the soccer field and basketball court.

Through the hardships her son endured, JoAnne described him as courageous, optimistic and generous.

"He was a wonderful person, and it's so hard to know you can work so hard to improve your life, and have it end so abruptly like that," JoAnne said.

The Martins expressed frustrations with how the investigation was handled by Metro Police in the days after David's death. However, they are still hopeful answers will come.

Metro Police Detective Matthew Filter said that at this point, tips from the public are critical to cracking the cold case.

"There’s nothing that can’t be solved," said Detective Filter. "It is just a matter of getting people to come forward and be willing to talk to us. With the technology that we have today, there are a lot of things we can do with physical evidence we couldn’t do 15 years ago."

If you have any information on David's murder, please call the Metro Police Cold Case Unit at 615-862-7329, or Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.