ELYRIA — The day he was supposed to go to trial on attempted murder and felony assault charges in the January 2018 random shooting of a woman who was taking a cigarette break outside her workplace in North Ridgeville, a Lorain man admitted to three felony charges.
Christian Martinez, 21, of 22nd Street, pleaded guilty to attempted murder, a first-degree felony, and two counts of felonious assault, both second-degree felonies, in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.
All three charges, which also come with attached firearms specifications, will merge for the purposes of sentencing, according to court documents. Each firearms specification could add an additional three-year prison term onto Martinez’s sentence.
The Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office elected to have Judge John Miraldi sentence Martinez on the attempted murder charge, which carries with it a range of three to 11 years in prison. Prosecutors also dismissed one count of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, Tuesday.
Following a presentence investigation by Lorain County Adult Probation, sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9 in Miraldi’s courtroom. Martinez will remain in the Lorain County Jail until that time.
A jury trial in the case had been scheduled to start Tuesday.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Martinez and his alleged accomplice, Jonathan Barnette of Lorain, were on their lunch break from their temporary jobs at Multi-Link in Elyria, driving a borrowed SUV and looking for a place to smoke marijuana Jan. 4, 2018, when they came across 54-year-old Jacqueline Dienes of Avon.
Dienes was sitting in her car at the end of Taylor Industrial Parkway in North Ridgeville, taking a smoke break from her own temporary job at Invacare when Martinez and Barnette pulled up. The men didn’t have a lighter, so North Ridgeville police alleged that Martinez told Barnette to pull over so he could ask Dienes for one.
Barnette later told police he heard noises, and Martinez told him he shot someone when he returned to the car moments later.
Dienes was shot five times, including once in the throat, but survived. North Ridgeville police said there was no link between Dienes and the men, and that they believe the shooting was random.
Barnette, 23, is on house arrest with GPS monitoring and facing identical charges of attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder and felonious assault in Dienes’ shooting.
As of Tuesday, court records show his next appearance in Miraldi’s courtroom will be his trial Aug. 27.