Teen sentenced to 40 years: 17-year-old Isaiah Martin murdered mother in 2022

Feb. 8—GREENUP — Greenup County Circuit Court Judge Brian McCloud told a teenager he has "done great harm to so many people" and exhibited no remorse as he announced a 40-year prison sentence for Isaiah Martin, 17, for the murder of his own mother.

According to previous reports, Martin stabbed and shot Thersa Martin to death in June 2022. Thersa was 49. Penny Nichols, Isaiah Martin's girlfriend, was sentenced in January to 40 years in prison for her role — conspiring to murder Thersa Martin. Nichols supplied her boyfriend with the gun.

Troy Breeze, assistant Commonwealth's attorney in Greenup, read three victim impact statements submitted by Cullen Martin, Kelsey Martin and another family member.

The first statement, from the relative not in the immediate family, indicated that Isaiah was "happy, well-loved and baptized."

"He was taught right from wrong, and he knew right from wrong," the statement read. "There are no words to describe what he's done to our family."

Cullen Martin, Isaiah's brother and Thersa's son, said losing his mother has caused depression, stress, anxiety, grief, a lack of sleep and other emotional adjustment issues being addressed by therapy.

"Through threats he made, I suffer from existential fear that he will finish his and his girlfriend's plans of killing my wife and I," Cullen Martin wrote. Cullen said Isaiah also threatened to harm Cullen's friends and other family members.

Billy Martin, Thersa's husband, had died in 2021.

"With the murder of my mother, I've lost the only family I had left after my father had passed away the prior year," Cullen wrote. "Isaiah can act innocent, but he's very manipulative. ... He shows no remorse for killing our mother. It was just to satisfy the urges of himself and his girlfriend, Penny.

"No one deserved to be killed in such a horrific manner, let alone a loving mother," Cullen added.

Kelsey Martin, Cullen's wife and Thersa's daughter in-law, viewed Thersa as her own mother.

"My heart breaks for my husband; we've not been able to sleep being afraid of (Isaiah) and Penny getting out," Kelsey wrote. "It makes me sick to my stomach. Someone who could do something so awful should be locked up forever."

Kelsey said she sometimes forgets Thersa is gone, and she'll pick up the phone to call her or send her a message.

"She'll never get to see her grandbabies," Kelsey Martin wrote, adding she and Cullen plan to have children of their own in the future. "We'll never get to laugh together again. ... A piece of my heart is gone."

Kelsey Martin, in her statement, said Isaiah Martin deserves the 40-year sentence, "that way my husband and I can live a happy life and not have to look over our shoulders to see what will happen next."

Following the impact statements, McCloud gave Isaiah Martin — short and slender, wearing a blue-jean jacket and blue jeans — if he wished to say anything. Public defender Charles Oppenheimer said Martin wished to remain silent.

"The court's going to sentence you to the full amount," the judge said. "Son, you've done great harm to so many people. I don't think you've shown any remorse. As you stand here right now, it looks like you're smirking at me. ... I hope in your 40 years, you'll understand the destruction you've caused to so many people. Take him away."

A final sentencing will take place just prior to Martin's 18th birthday — which is Aug. 1. It is set for July 25, 2024.

(606) 326-2664 — asnyder@dailyindependent.com