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John Martin, Senior News Researcher

John Martin

John is a native of Tampa who grew up in Seminole Heights.

He is an honors program graduate of the University of Tampa, where he received a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1986. He studied journalism and psychology at the University of Florida, and received a master's degree in library and information science from the University of South Florida in 1993.

He joined the Times in 1995.

In 2000, he was a member of the Times reporting team that won the American Society of News Editors' Jesse Laventhol Prize for deadline news reporting, for the Times coverage of the Radisson Hotel shootings.

Phone: (813) 226-3372


  1. Tampa man accused of drowning rabbit has expensive criminal history


    TAMPA — Steven B. Rodd's life has gone very wrong in recent years.

    In 2011, he was sentenced to three years in federal prison for aiding the $300 million Ponzi scheme run by Lou Pearlman, the boy band impresario who created the Backstreet Boys.

    After Rodd got out in August, he told a judge he couldn't support his wife and three kids.

    Three months ago, he lost his job as a cash-for-gold salesman....

    Steven B. Rodd faces an aggravated cruelty to an?i?mals charge.
  2. Questions loom about Hudson murder-suicide that left two boys dead


    HUDSON — There were few answers on Thursday about what led a 12-year-old boy to allegedly shoot his two brothers Wednesday night, killing one and injuring the other, before turning the gun on himself.

    Investigators say Kevin Pimentel, remembered as a quiet kid who played with his iPad on the school bus and was in gifted classes, shot and killed his 6-year-old brother, Brady, and injured his 16-year-old brother, Trevor, inside their home. He then shot himself, committing suicide, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference Thursday morning....

    Kevin Pimentel, 12, shot his brothers, 6 and 16, then himself at his family's home Wednesday evening, according to Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times; Pasco County Schools]
  3. For years, Tampa homeless charity raised and spent money dubiously

    Special Topics

    TAMPA — A month before reports of his charity's treatment of homeless people sparked controversy, New Beginnings of Tampa founder Tom Atchison was fighting to save his church in federal bankruptcy court.

    Atchison's New Life Pentecostal Church owed more than $900,000 to a Texas bank. On Oct. 23, the bank's lawyer urged a judge to allow an auction of the church property. ...

    Pastor Tom Atchison speaks during a church service at his church, New Life Pentecostal Church in Tampa on November 19, 2014. Atchison is the founder and CEO of New Beginnings of Tampa. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  4. Timeline: Joe Maddon's career with the Tampa Bay Rays



    Nov. 15: After 31 years in the Angels organization, Joe Maddon is hired as Devil Rays manager, replacing Lou Piniella.


    April 3: In Maddon's first regular-season game as manager, the Devil Rays lose to the Orioles 9-6 at Camden Yards.

    Oct. 1: Maddon closes his first year as manager, a majors-worst 61-101.


    Sept. 8: The Rays pick up a two-year option that keeps Maddon under contract through 2009....

    Joe Maddon, left, manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays chats with his mother Albina Maddon Monday at the season opener against the  Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. ERIC CONOVER/Hazleton Standard-Speaker
  5. Derek Jeter: Photos from a stellar career


    As New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter puts the finishing touches on his playing career, we take a look back at images of him captured by Times photojournalists through the years.

    You'll find even more photos of Jeter in the Times photo archive.

    January 28, 2011 -- Dubbed "St. Jetersburg" by locals, here's an aerial view of Jeter's 30,875 sq. ft. house on Davis Islands in Tampa. Inside the  mammoth, two-story house are seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a grand entertainment room, a billiards room and a memorabilia room. There are  two three-car garages. 
   All surrounded by a 6-foot wall and 4-foot fence. Jeter's company paid $7.7 million for the three waterfront lots. 

[Scott Keeler | Times]
  6. After Hillsborough commission primary, Higginbotham looks for broader support


    TAMPA — After eight years representing a Republican stronghold, can Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham broaden his appeal enough to win countywide, where Democrats have the advantage?

    That is the prime question facing Higginbotham's campaign this year, as the 60-year-old Plant City native left eastern Hillsborough's District 4 because of term limits to run for the countywide District 7 seat on the commission. And though Higginbotham romped in Tuesday's GOP primary, a closer look shows he has work to do in large swaths of Hillsborough to prevail in the Nov. 4 general election....

    A geographic analysis of the results from Tuesday's primaries for Hillsborough County Commission's District 7, a countywide seat, shows Commissioner Al Higginbotham's votes more clustered in east and south county.
  7. Thousands of fake tax claims linked to fired Tampa detective


    TAMPA —The city paid Eric Houston $85,654 a year to solve homicides for the Tampa Police Department.

    But he may also have betrayed victims, divulging their identities for tax refund fraud, court records suggest.

    About 4,600 individuals Houston checked out on state or national databases between 2010 and 2012 had fraudulent tax returns filed in their names, according to an affidavit obtained by the Tampa Bay Times....

    LaJoyce Houston
  8. Sheriff's Office: Darrin Campbell shot family, torched Avila mansion, killed himself



    A Tampa executive "systematically" executed his wife and two teenage children in their bedrooms before splashing gasoline throughout the family's mansion, shooting himself in the head and burning down the house, authorities said Friday.

    The official — albeit still incomplete — account of the inferno that consumed the $1 million home in the exclusive Avila community north of Tampa this week confirmed what was widely suspected: Darrin Campbell, 49, was responsible for the deaths of his wife, Kimberly Campbell, 51, and children Colin Campbell, 18, and Megan Campbell, 15....

     At 2:00 p.m. today, Colonel Donna Lusczynski will brief the news media with the latest updates reference the Avila house fire.nThe briefing will be held at the Lake Magdalene entrance of Avila.
  9. Sheriff's Office: All four found dead in torched Avila mansion had been shot


    TAMPA — All four people found dead this week in a burning mansion north of Tampa were shot, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday evening.

    Investigators also found a gun registered to Darrin Campbell, the 49-year-old man who leased the house with his family, and discovered Campbell had bought gas cans and what one official called an "exceedingly large" number of fireworks in the days before the blaze....

    Megan Campbell
  10. Timeline: Greg Schiano career


  11. Timeline: Mark Dominik years with Bucs


  12. For Valessa Robinson, her attorney hopes, a second chance



    Thirteen years ago, Valessa Robinson was a dark mystery — a teenage girl from the comfortable suburbs convicted in the stabbing death of her own mother, the body left stuffed in a garbage can while the girl and her friends partied.

    Jurors saw Robinson at the defense table dressed in good-girl clothes — Mary Janes, pastel sweaters, tights. They also heard testimony about a rebellious 15-year-old deep into drugs, ugly to her mother and mad for a sinister older boy....

    Valessa Robinson is led out of the courtroom during her murder trial. Defense attorneys dressed her in conservative sweater sets and Mary Jane shoes.
  13. Did investigation into war of words between Bubba, blogger cross the line?

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — With one email to the most powerful lawman in town, a Tampa attorney had two top Hillsborough sheriff's detectives investigating his client's enemy.

    The attorney: Stephen Diaco.

    The client: loudmouth radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

    The suspect: a 46-year-old AAA employee with perhaps a little too much time on his hands.

    Morgan "Joshua" Morey now says Diaco used the Sheriff's Office to have him criminally investigated last year. And that's an eyebrow-raising claim, since Diaco is at the center of separate allegations that his firm used a Tampa police connection to set up a courtroom enemy for a DUI arrest....

    Bubba the Love Sponge says Ludlow Lebron’s tweet about a shotgun made him fear for his safety.

In his words: Hear audio of Bubba discussing Ludlow Lebron with a caller on his radio show in a video at Links in today’s Times on
  14. Mystery man Bobby Thompson blames CIA for bogus charity


    The man known as Bobby Thompson goes on trial in state court in Cleveland today.

    He faces up to 40 years in prison on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering for his role as head of U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a charity in Tampa that raised over $100 million in donations but turned out to be a total charade. Its state chapters were mail drops, its directors nonexistent. It gave little aid to veterans....

    Jeff Testerman
  15. Young paralegal at center of case involving Tampa lawyers, police sergeant

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The two young women who once worked together at a law firm met up for happy hour downtown that January night.

    First they hit Malio's, a dark steak house bar favored by older men in expensive suits nursing Grey Goose, their briefcases like faithful dogs at their feet. Next was the trendier, throbbing Fly bar, filled with 20- and 30-somethings like themselves.

    Melissa Personius, who worked as a paralegal, called her boss at the Adams & Diaco law firm....

    Melissa Personius, who works as a paralegal at the Adams & Diaco law firm, pleaded the Fifth several times when questioned in court. She has recently hired a high-profile lawyer.