A second press conference was held at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 in relation to the 1996 murder of Jonesville officer Sgt. Gregory Keith Martin.
“As I first announced last night, an arrest has been made in connection with this case,” said Police Chief Roger Reece with the Jonesville Police Department. “Thirty-six-year-old Scott Vincent Sica is charged with first degree murder. Mr. Sica was taken into custody in Cape Coral, Fla. last night at approximately 7:45 p.m. He is currently being held at a detention center in Lee County, Fla.”
Reece went on to say that there are plans to extradite Sica to North Carolina in the near future. Reece said that the arrest was made after members of the Jonesville Police Department, Elkin Police Department, N.C. Special Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked together in the investigation to gather information and physical evidence that led to the arrest of Sica.
Reece said that both the NCSBI and the FBI are processing additional evidence to further the investigation.
“I know everyone is very eager to hear the specifics on the evidence against Mr. Sica, but you must understand that no additional details can be released in order to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation,” Reece said. “Sixteen years’ worth of work has gone into solving this case. Sgt. Martin’s murder has haunted this community, this police department and the members of the law enforcement agencies here with me today. We must do everything we can for the judicial process to proceed successfully, both for our investigation and for the rights of the accused in this case.”
Sgt. Martin’s sister, Melissa Blakely, was in attendance at the press conference to share the family’s feelings on the arrest.
“Wow, 16 years and we got him,” Blakely said. “Justice is in sight. I would like to thank the Jonesville Police Department, the FBI, the Elkin Police Department, the NCSBI and all the agencies for them not every giving up on our family. Our family just can’t express our gratitude. We are full of emotions. A lot of emotions are coming back: anger, sadness, frustration. But we’re on the right path.”
Reece invited the media and public to attend the annual memorial service that is held every year on Oct. 5 at 2 a.m. The service begins at Jonesville Town Hall and officers will leave from town hall to make a memorial ride by the site on I-77 where Sgt. Martin was shot. Officers and observers will return to town hall after the ride for a prayer and bagpipe presentation at Sgt. Martin’s memorial.
A family’s closure
Family members stayed on hand following the press conference to speak to the media and share their feelings on this emotional day.
“Roger Reece called us yesterday and asked us to come down to the courthouse because he had something he needed to tell us,” said Brittany Hart, Sgt. Martin’s daughter. “When he told us that they had a suspect in custody I just thought ‘thank God, it’s about time’.”
Sgt. Martin’s brother, Jeff Martin, was also on hand at the press conference.
“It’s been a long time coming, and he’s been free too long,” said Jeff. “I hope he gets what he deserves. We also realize that it won’t bring him back but it will start to bring closure. It’s amazing that it’s finally coming together.”
Brittany had similar sentiments when it came to the upcoming trial for Sica.
“I hope he gets what’s coming to him,” Brittany said. “I hope karma comes back to him and pays him back tenfold for all of the pain and suffering he’s done to our family.”
Brittany said that the fact that the arrest comes so close to the anniversary of her father’s death is very surreal. She said she’s still trying to remind herself that it’s not a dream.
“I am so relieved, and I can finally sleep at night,” Brittany said. “It’s just a lot off my chest.”
Blakely still wears a pair of hand cuffs that served as a tie pin on Sgt. Martin’s uniform. She wears it proudly today as she remembers her brother.
“It’s been 16 years that we’ve been waiting for this and not just our family; the police department has worked hard, the community has worked hard,” Blakely said. “He respected and loved this town and he loved the people in it.”
Blakely said that she had spoken to her brother the week that his murder took place and they joked back and forth over the phone while they filled each other in on their families. Blakely said that she can’t find a way to rationalize why someone would choose to take her brother’s life.
“There’s nothing [Greg] could have done that warrants [Sica] to take my brother’s life,” Blakely said. “I was the same age as the suspect when he killed my brother and there is no reason that he should have ever done that. Greg was doing his job.”
Blakely said that she knew exactly what she would say to Sica if she got the opportunity to talk to him.
“I would just ask him why,” Blakely said. “I would tell him that I was his age and he didn’t have to do this. I would tell him that I made the wrong choice.”
Blakely said that Sgt. Martin’s mother is still alive but in poor health. She was not able to make it to the press conference but seems to feel relieved that a suspect has been arrested. Sgt. Martin’s father passed away in 2001.
“I think he died of a broken heart,” said Jeff.
Blakely said that she expects this year’s memorial to be a completely different experience and more emotional than years passed.
“It’s going to put a whole different meaning to it,” Blakely said. “Not only can we celebrate his life, we can celebrate that justice is in sight and he can rest in peace.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.