A 23-year-old Hopkins County man facing a large number of felony charges — ranging from residential burglaries, vehicle burglaries, theft and possession of a firearm, escape and stealing a Delta County Sheriff’s Department patrol car — entered pleas of guilty to offenses in Delta, Franklin and Hopkins counties Friday afternoon before Eighth Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt.
Cecil Eldon Martin answered guilty in response to Judge Northcutt reading each of the charges. As a result of his pleas of guilt, he received two 20-year prison sentences and one 10-year sentence. The sentences were stacked, meaning they will run consecutively.
District Attorney Will Ramsay said the pleas effectively concluded an extensive crime spree.
“There were months back last year that Mr. Martin was just a bit of a one-man crime wave over the three counties that happened to be in the Eighth Judicial District,” Ramsay said. “It dealt mainly in the area of theft: with the burglary of habitations, burglaries of vehicles and, at one point, he was apprehended in Delta County and escaped using a patrol car.”
The Friday afternoon hearing was unusual in that felony cases from three counties were all heard in the same courtroom.
“He had offenses spread out over three counties and was set to be tried here in Hopkins County, but we came to an agreement where he would plead to the two highest charges and receive the max here in Hopkins County. That’s two burglaries of habitations, 20-year sentences stacked, which means they run consecutively — also the maximum on all other cases here in Hopkins County,” Ramsay said.
The district attorney said hearing the pleas at the same time resulted in a good outcome for citizens in all three counties.
“The reason we did it all in Hopkins County today is just the practical nature of it,” Ramsay said. “It saves time and money. We don’t have to transport him to any other facilities, and it is the same judge and same players involved. And, we were able to get that wrapped up all today, so that was a very good outcome.”
William Howard McDowell, who represented Martin in all the cases heard Friday, said Martin wanted to own up to all the charges against him.
“It was not recommended by me for him to take it,” McDowell said. “That’s what he wanted to do.”
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