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Family 'crushed' by murder victim's death

Courtney Astolfi • Dec 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Paul Doughty, grandson of 86-year-old murder victim George Martin, wants to send a message to his grandfather’s killer.

“I want to see them face-to-face,” he said. “I want to tell them I was the one who was supposed to be there, holding his hand when he died. I didn’t want him to be alone, bleeding to death by himself on the basement floor.”

Tuesday evening, Martin was repeatedly stabbed inside his home at 2201 Campbell St. in Sandusky.

His attacker, or attackers, then set the home on fire in an attempt to cover the crime, Sandusky police Detective Dana Newell said.

After firefighters snuffed the flames, they found Martin’s body in the basement.

“The whole family is just crushed,” Doughty told the Register Thursday evening. “The horror of what happened just keeps going through my head.”

Sandusky police have made no arrests in the case, but they have interviewed multiple “people of interest” in the days following Martin’s murder.

New details in the case were also made public Thursday:

•Investigators uncovered a possible murder weapon inside Martin’s home. Newell said Martin was stabbed with “a sharp object,” but he would not elaborate on the specific type of weapon used.

“We have located some things we’ll send into BCI to determine which one is the actual murder weapon,” Newell said.

•While Newell would not comment on how many people were involved in the murder, Doughty offered some insight. “These two people that did it are still in town,” Doughty said.

•It appears Martin tried to ward off his assailant. “There were signs he attempted to defend himself,” Newell said.

•The official autopsy has yet to be completed, but detectives conferred with the Lucas County coroner’s office Thursday about preliminary findings, which clued them to possible developments, Newell said.

•Fire and police investigators believe the fire was set without the use of gasoline or other accelerants. “It could be a match or lighter,” Newell said. “That’s still up in the air.”

•Detectives retrieved surveillance video of the area surrounding Martin’s home. “There is some surveillance. We’re trying to get all of it from certain locations and we’re still reviewing all of that,” Newell said.

•Members of the public have called police with additional, valuable information. “We appreciate the information we’ve received and ask the public to continue making contact with us,” Newell said.

•Neighbors saw nothing suspicious around Martin’s home near the time of his death, but police have interviewed possible witnesses. Newell did not provide information on the witnesses or what they saw.

•Newell did not comment on the whereabouts of Martin’s wife, Florence, when the crimes occurred, although on Wednesday he said she is not a suspect. He also had no comment on a possible timeline of the night’s events. He did, however, confirm the fire was set to cover Martin’s murder, and both events happened within a short timespan.

“We want to make sure we get everything right and ask people to be patient,” Newell said. “It’s a gruesome situation, and we do understand the concerns of citizens.”

Firefighters were dispatched to the home at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. They quickly extinguished the blaze, then found Martin’s body on the basement floor, partially burned with multiple stab wounds.

There were three separate points of origin in the fire — one point in the basement, one in a first-floor back bedroom, and one in a first-floor front bedroom, Sandusky fire Chief Paul Ricci said.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information about the arson.

Meanwhile, Martin’s family is reeling from this horrific end.

According to Doughty, Florence Martin is simply devastated by her husband’s death.

“She lost everything: her husband, her house, her dog,” Doughty said.

He said his grandfather raised him like a son.

“He was my father,” Doughty said. “He was just selfless and he put other people before himself. He always took the backseat to others, was humble, wasn’t focused on the material things, and was always about family. And he always taught me all of that.

“This wasn’t just an old man,” he said. “He was deeply, deeply loved.”

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