LARAMIE -- Wyoming men's basketball star guard Luke Martinez admitted to causing serious bodily injury to the man he kicked in the face during a Dec. 30 fight outside of the Buckhorn Bar in downtown Laramie, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Police arrested Martinez on one charge of aggravated battery and assault Jan. 13 for his involvement in multi-person fight that took place outside of the Buckhorn shortly after the Buckhorn's closing time of 2:30 a.m. Martinez appeared in circuit court for arraignment Tuesday. An affidavit was made public soon after.
The affidavit cites three witnesses, all employees of the Buckhorn, who say Martinez kicked the victim in the face after Wyoming sophomore backup forward Derek Cooke Jr. knocked the victim out with a punch. It also cites the victim, who said it was possible that Martinez kicked him after Cooke knocked him unconscious. Police state that Martinez also "did verbally admit that he caused serious bodily injury to the victim knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life." The affidavit of probable cause also states that UW junior reserve guard Nathan Sobey was at the scene of the Dec. 30 fight.
Laramie police officer Matthew Leibovitz initially investigated the incident, according to the report. He found a group of 10 individuals actively fighting and arguing. About 20 feet away, a male victim was motionless, "and appeared to be unconscious and bleeding from the mouth in the middle of the roadway," according to the report.
Martinez, Cooke Jr. and Sobey were identified among the group of 10 individuals. At that time, Martinez, whose right hand was swollen and bruised (he was later determined to have broken his fourth metacarpal), admitted to his involvement in the fight.
The victim, who was disoriented and did not know how he was knocked out at the time, told police he believed he had tried to break up a fight. Later, the man's brother told police the victim had suffered "multiple fractures of the lower mandible" as a result of the fight, and had surgery to wire his jaw shut in a Fort Collins, Colo., hospital.
The victim told police he had possibly been knocked out by Cooke and kicked by Martinez, and he identified witnesses.
The first witness, who is a bartender at Buckhorn, told police she was working and present during the fight. That witness said the victim grabbed a male matching Cooke's description by the arm. The witness observed Cooke turn and punch the victim in the temple, rendering him unconscious. Then, the witness said, Martinez kicked the man.
"Luke ran up to [the victim,] and kicked him in the face," the witness said.
The witness added that Martinez kicked the victim "with such force that it made me sick," and "he booted his face like it was a football."
That witness, who believed Martinez kicked the man with his right foot, identified Martinez in a photo lineup on Jan. 13, and added that "this man came running up to the victim while he was unconscious in the street and kicked him in the face with his right foot. I am very sure this was the man I saw."
Another witness, also a Buckhorn employee, told police the victim had been "dropped" by a punch and was unconscious on the ground. The witness initially was unable to determine who kicked the victim, according to the report. But the witness later identified Martinez in a photo lineup and said Martinez "kicked the victim when he was laying down in the street."
A third witness was also interviewed. The witness, who later positively identified Martinez in a photo lineup, told police Martinez ran and kicked the victim with what the witness believed to be Martinez's left foot 15 to 20 seconds after Cooke knocked the victim out with a punch. The witness said Martinez was about 15 feet from the victim before kicking him and added that the kick "looked like a perfect soccer kick."
That witness told police he saw the victim swing and miss at Martinez during the fight. Cooke punched the victim after the victim tried to hit Martinez, the witness, who believed Martinez used his left foot to kick the victim, said.
Police interviewed Martinez at about 1:23 a.m. Sunday, according to the report. Martinez told police that the victim punched him in the left side of the head. He then said a suspect he believed to possibly be Cooke punched the victim and knocked the victim out. He told police the victim fell to the ground. Martinez first told police he had possibly "stepped" on the victim's head. He later said he possibly "stomped" on the victim's head. Police say Martinez then admitted that he moved five feet toward the victim about two to three seconds after the man hit the ground and kicked him in the head. Martinez positively identified the man he kicked to police.
During that interview with police, Martinez did verbally admit that he caused serious injury to the victim knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, according to the affidavit. Martinez was arrested shortly after the interview, at 2:15 a.m.
Martinez appeared in front of Judge Robert Castor in circuit court Tuesday morning. Castor said Martinez had been charged with aggravated battery and assault under the following definition:
"Causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."
Martinez will be released on a $25,000 signature bond. Part of his terms of release are checking in with the Wyoming athletic director and his defense attorney three times per week, not consuming drugs or alcohol, and staying out of establishments that make the majority of their income from sales of alcoholic beverages.
UW assistant coach Scott Duncan attended the hearing, which lasted about 20 minutes. UW officials announced Monday that Martinez, 22, has been suspended indefinitely after Laramie Police arrested him early Sunday on a felony charge of aggravated assault. Duncan told Castor in the arraignment that the Wyoming athletic department would be responsible for having Martinez check in three times a week.
Martinez has been indefinitely suspended by UW since his arrest. Previously, he had missed three consecutive games due to his broken shooting hand. He was not suspended at that time and continued to travel with the team and sit on the bench in street clothes during games.
A UW athletics spokesman contacted Tuesday said the team would have no further comment about Martinez, a two-year starter for the Cowboys and the team's second-leading scorer. UW also declined to comment on the other UW players (Sobey and Cooke) who were at the scene of and allegedly involved in the Buckhorn fight.
Laramie police told the Star-Tribune yesterday that Martinez is the only person arrested and charged in relation to the Buckhorn fight at this time. If found guilty of aggravated assault and battery, which is a felony, he could face up to 10 years in prison along with monetary damages.
Martinez's preliminary hearing was set for 11 a.m. on Jan. 28.