Jury selection to begin in trial of man charged in Lexington dermatologist's killing

gkocher1@herald-leader.comAugust 4, 2013 

Jury selection in the trial of Marty Lee Roe, accused of murder in the shooting death of Lexington dermatologist Dr. Martha Post, is scheduled to begin Monday.

Post, 55, was shot on Sept. 1, 2011, as she backed her van out of the parking lot at her medical office. The van then rolled into a car on Huguenard Drive.

After the shooting, Lexington police focused on Roe, a transient whom Post and her husband, Dr. Robert Truitt, had once befriended and invited to their home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Truitt said Roe had been stalking his wife.

Roe, 67, could face life in prison if convicted. Asked whether Roe will testify, public defender Shannon Brooks-English said, "I can't say."

The prosecution has subpoenaed more than 30 witnesses for the trial, which is scheduled to continue through Aug. 15.

The defense has not said how many witnesses it will call.

Post had complained to Lexington police in June 2010 that she had received numerous unwanted telephone calls from Roe, who had done renovation work in the building where she and her husband had offices. According to police records, Post said Roe wanted her to leave her husband and be with him.

Post and her husband had also told police that they had received several harassing voice mails and text messages to their cell phones.

Six days after the shooting, Roe was arrested at a bar in Lakeview, Ohio, on a warrant for harassing communications stemming from the phone calls he made to Post, according to a warrant.

Police found a gun and bullets in the engine compartment of his van. Roe is also charged with tampering with evidence and harassing communications.

In a handwritten letter filed with other court documents, Roe maintained that he is being framed for Post's murder. In the letter addressed to Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael Jr., Roe said he should be released from jail because he is the only person who can find witnesses who could help his case.

"I belive one or more people are trying to frame me for the crime of Dr. Post," Roe wrote.

"I belive there is a conspiracy against me for reason I don't know," Roe wrote. "The detectives are not looking for anyone else for the crime of Dr. Post. Your honor, if I can get out on a lower bond, I belive I can prove I did not commit the murder of Dr. Post."

A psychiatrist and a psychologist who met with Roe testified that they considered him competent for trial. Roe understands the nature of the charges against him and can rationally participate in his defense, they said.

Roe has also asked for a change of venue, saying that pretrial publicity prohibits him from receiving a fair trial in Fayette County.

In an order filed in May, Ishmael held that motion in abeyance to see how jury selection goes.

Citing "health and personal issues," Truitt voluntarily and permanently surrendered his medical license on Aug. 1, 2012. He said he had closed his practice as of June 12, 2012, and wrote the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure that "I have no intentions of returning to the practice of medicine."

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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