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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. 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.”...

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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....

    Former state legislator and county commissioner Jim Norman said he will file the paperwork to run for Hillsborough County Commission on Tuesday.  Norman said his past dealings with a house bankrolled by a political benefactor are behind him and he is ready to move forward. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]
  5. Perspective: My Southern heritage


    A few days ago, I got an earful from a reader for a Perspective piece I wrote for the Times back in 2008. I wrote then about the Confederate battle flag and the local group hell-bent on flying it high, contorting history both to put their ancestors, and mine, in an impossibly favorable light, and ignoring more than a century of evil done with that flag as a backdrop.

    As events played out last month, I was the least of my caller's problems, flag-wise. Through tragedy, and in the halls of justice, our country had a growth spurt....

    The Slave Schedules of the 1860 U.S. Census inventory more than 50 human beings that my great-great-grandfather owned.
  6. 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.
  7. 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....

    Deputies say Kevin Pimentel, 12, was the shooter.
  8. 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]
  9. 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
  10. 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.

    June 22, 1999 -- Devil Rays 3B Wade Boggs chases down C John Flaherty's errant throw as Derek Jeter heads for home in a game at Tropicana Field. Jeter scored on the error, boosting the Yankees lead to 3-0. [Pam Royal | Times]
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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....

    Darrin Campbell bought six packages of small firecrackers and seven packs of aerial fireworks Sunday, totaling $610 before tax. Watch him at
  14. 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....

    The Phantom Fireworks store on Fowler Avenue where Darrin Campbell shopped displays the products he had purchased for $610, before tax.
  15. Timeline: Greg Schiano career