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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. Florida's worst spies: Espionage comes to the Sunshine State

    Public Safety

    American culture is fascinated with spies, and Florida has links to some of the most intricate espionage cases the country has seen. Here are a few high-profile cases from recent years.

    George Trofimoff

    It took 25 years for authorities to capture George Trofimoff. Decades of providing highly classified documents to the Soviet Union finally caught up with him when he was arrested at Tampa hotel in 2000. ...

    George Trofimoff was arrested by the FBI in 2000.
  2. 'Neo-Nazi' in Florida National Guard arrested after explosives found at Tampa Palms murder scene


    TAMPA — A man accused of shooting his two roommates Friday in a Tampa Palms apartment told police he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with the men until he converted to Islam then killed them because they showed disrespect for his faith.

    The revelations weren't over.

    Officers found a garage stocked with bomb materials as they arrived to investigate the double homicide, leading to federal explosive charges against Brandon Russell — a Florida National Guardsman and admitted neo-Nazi who kept a framed photo of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh on his dresser....

    Andrew Oneschuk, 18, had been living at the Tampa Palms apartment for two weeks, according to Lyssa Himmelman, his roommate's sister. She said Andrew had planned to leave the apartment Monday and was interested in joining the Navy.
  3. Darryl Shaw is quiet, humble - and $63 million later, Ybor's big new player

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Darryl Shaw first ventured into Ybor City real estate in 1988, just after he finished a bachelor's degree in international business at Brown University.

    It didn't end well.

    The 22-year-old moved to Ybor and bought a run-down building on E Seventh Avenue with plans to convert it to office space. Then the balcony collapsed during renovation. The city condemned the building, which had to be demolished. End of that career....

    Aerial photo of Ybor City centered around Centro Ybor and 7th Avenue.  [Thursday, April 20, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. Hillsborough deputies search for husband suspected of kidnapping estranged wife


    LITHIA — Trevor Summers' life rapidly disintegrated over the past seven months:

    In September, he pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in federal court in Philadelphia. In October, his wife, Alisa Summers, sought a domestic violence injunction against him. Two months later, she filed for divorce.

    Then, on Feb. 21, she filed for another protective order, accusing her husband of holding her prisoner at knifepoint....

    Trevor Steven Summers, 39, and his wife Alisa Summers, 37, in a photo posted to her Facebook page in July 2016. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is searching for both after witnesses said they saw a bound woman whom they believe to be Alisa Summers forced into a vehicle by a man believed to be her husband, Trevor Summers, outside a Walgreens in Lithia around 9 p.m. Saturday. [Facebook]
  5. Husband blamed in double slaying was angry wife left him for woman, lawyer says


    BRANDON — Vincente Fuillerat was already pained by the separation from his wife.

    Then the 53-year-old electronic security consultant found out the woman with whom he'd raised two children during 28 years of marriage was in a relationship with another woman.

    The discovery of Lisa Fuillerat's romance with Samara Routenberg angered him, said Tampa attorney Ralph Fernandez, whose firm represented Vincente Fuillerat during the divorce proceedings. He considered it immoral, Fernandez said....

    Vicente Fuillerat, 53, broke through a sliding glass door into the Brandon home of Samara Routenberg, armed with a shotgun and wearing a bulletproof vest, Hillsbrough sheriff's investigators said. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  6. Savvy Jack's serves tasty Southern and French-inspired breakfasts


    WHAT I ATE: I sidestepped Southern fare (like biscuits and gravy) on Savvy Jack's menu, opting instead for one of the French breakfast specialties. I initially had my eye on crepes, but settled on one of the daily specials: the friande, a minced meat pie encased in puff pastry, topped with cheese and bechamel sauce, served with two eggs and a slice of fresh tomato.

    Our server assured me I would like it, and I did....

    Savvy Jack’s, located on N 56th Street, has a host of French- and Southern-inspired breakfast items, such as crepes or biscuits and gravy, and specializes in omelettes.
  7. Neighborhood Bistro: TacoSon Mexican Grill


    WHAT I ATE: My dining companions and I opted for TacoSon's "Family Pack" of 10 tacos (we chose 5 chicken, 5 shredded beef), with 32-ounce containers of refried beans and rice, plus salsa and chips. We also added a large order of guacamole and chips, and the soda drinkers each opted for bottles of Jarritos Mexican soda: one guava, one mango.

    TacoSon offers up seven different taco meat options, and while I've sampled most, my favorite remains their shredded beef (barbacoa), which was moist, tender and flavorful. Another favorite: Pork rinds (chicharron) in salsa verde....

    TacoSon Mexican Grill serves tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes at 7521 N 56th St., just south of Temple Terrace. The number of taquerias in Hillsborough County has steadily increased.
  8. Throwback Thursday: A view of the Tampa skyline from 90 years ago

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — On a September afternoon nearly 90 years ago, Tampa was already a city with a skyline.

    Cigar City's downtown was fairly bustling, years before residents and businesses would flee to the suburbs.

    You can see people walking, heading west toward the heart of downtown from the view of the Cass Street Bridge....

    Step back in time and see just how much Tampa has changed since 1926 from the view of the Cass Street Bridge.
  9. How that Tampa Tribune mural came to be



    For artist Joan Griffin Burpee, it was a memorable commission.

    The call came from Stewart Bryan, a Tampa Tribune publisher in the mid 1970s who would later become chairman of Media General, the Tribune's owner at the time.

    As the Tribune prepared to move in 1975 from downtown Tampa to its new headquarters at 202 S Parker St., Bryan wanted Burpee to create a series of seven paintings, each commemorating and honoring the work of the pressmen who produced the newspaper each night....

    Artist Joan Griffin Burpee spent time in the Tribune pressroom before capturing its essence in this mural.
  10. Tampa pet charity's often repeated claim of a deep-pocketed benefactor raises questions

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Month after month, the Tampa animal charity Soaring Paws entices donors with promises their contributions will be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled through limited-time matches from something called the "Amazon Rescue Foundation."

    If the generosity sounds incredible, it might be. No such foundation appears to exist in the United States.

    Soaring Paws pilot Albert Lonzo Adams III, who flies dogs and cats for rescue groups, declined to further identity the mystery sponsor....

    Soaring Paws pilot Albert Lonzo Adams III has a soft spot for animals and is an experienced pilot, but one without wings of his own. He relies on donors to keep him in the air with rented planes, at an hourly cost of $200. [Twitter]
  11. Hero in the sky, pet rescue pilot had troubles on the ground

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Wallets opened when a Tampa pilot's charity claimed to be answering a request from Make-A-Wish to fly a sick boy named Brian on a mission to rescue shelter pets.

    But Make-A-Wish says it never asked and last month told pilot Albert Lonzo Adams III, who has a history of fraud convictions, to stop using its name.

    Adams, 45, is top dog at Soaring Paws, a nonprofit that flies stray pets from overcrowded Southern shelters to small rescue groups in cities where the animals are wanted....

    Soaring Paws uses social media, such as this Facebook page, for updates and to solicit money.
  12. Donald Trump joins Led Zeppelin on the short list of things banned from Tampa Bay


    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump earned a rare distinction by being banned from a city in Tampa Bay on Monday night.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman playfully tweeted that he was “hereby barring” The Donald from the Sunshine City after Trump proposed blocking all Muslim people from entering the United States in response to recent terror threats.

    In June of 1977, British rock band Led Zeppelin was similarly banned from Tampa following a washed-out, riotous concert at Tampa Stadium. Then-Mayor William Poe didn’t show a whole lot of love for Robert Plant and crew following the show, saying: “Led Zeppelin will not perform in Tampa again. We have to protect the health and welfare of the police officers as well as the citizens of Tampa.”...

  13. As NFL inks deal with Premier League team, could Bucs soon have 'home' game in London?


    When news broke late last month that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are jockeying with the Tampa Sports Authority to play a second "home" game away from Raymond James Stadium, the between-the-lines intrigue was what it all means for Tampa and for Buccaneer fans, and where those home-away-from-home games might be played....

    Artist's rendering of Tottenham's proposed new stadium, set up for an NFL game.
  14. Norman's commission race heats up with big bucks


    Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman did not quite make the six figures in campaign contributions one of his supporters predicted for Norman’s controversial comeback bid, but he did take in $83,475, according to his first campaign report.
    Norman, a Republican, served 18 years on the commission and was elected to the Florida Senate in 2010. But he withdrew his bid for re-election in 2012 in a scandal involving a lakefront vacation home in Arkansas bankrolled by a millionaire businessman and supporter who had benefitted from the commission’s pro-growth votes.
    After three years out of politics, Norman said in August he wanted the controversy behind him and filed to run again. Republican kingmaker Sam Rashid predicted Norman would have $100,000 in support waiting for him.
    That crowded race for the District 6 countywide seat will be closely watched.
    Former Hillsborough County Democratic Party chairwoman Pat Kemp took in $46,240, former Hillsborough County Commissioner and Tampa City Council member and Democrat Tom Scott took in $10,311, and local transit activist Brian Willis posted $62,047.
    Joining Norman on the Republican side of the race are Thomas Avino and Tim Schock, who have one more day to file their reports....

    Photo of lakefront home in Arkansas, purchased by wife of former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman.
  15. After sprawl and scandal, Jim Norman seeks comeback on Hillsborough County Commission

    Local Government

    Tucked in a secluded corner of the Ozark Mountains, far from the traffic and sprawl of Hillsborough County, is the house that took down Jim Norman.

    It is a vacation getaway, two stories with a dock and boathouse overlooking a picturesque lake in a resort community where Arkansas meets Missouri.

    Five years ago, revelations about who paid for this house fueled a scandal that derailed Norman's political career. A powerful Hillsborough County commissioner and rising Republican star, Norman was headed to a bigger stage in the Florida Legislature when the story broke....

    Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman jokes around with voters while campaigning in front of the Ruskin Senior Center on Sept. 10, 2002.  [Times files]