In 1977 he was released on parole and went to Florida. He received no assistance
for his mental problems and continued to drink alcohol. With a cousin he committed
a robbery to obtain alcohol which resulted in the murder of a young white woman,
Patricia Greenfield. In a statement following his arrest, Nollie Martin expressed
revulsion, remorse, disbelief and pleaded for psychiatric help and prayers. He was
sentenced to death in November 1978.
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Nollie Martin's thirteen years on death row are described by his lawyers as "marked
by intense and relentless torment. He loathes himself for taking Patricia's life
and he agonizes over how he could have performed such a brutal act. He believes that
satanic forces are to blame for the murder, but punishes himself for not being strong
enough to withstand their directions." According to his lawyers, Nollie Martin can
make no sense of his impending execution, nor of his entire life.
Nollie Martin requires constant medication to treat his mental illness. He is said
to hear voices constantly mocking at him; he beats his head and fists against the
wall of his cell and continues to mutilate himself. He hallucinates and his
conversation rambles incoherently. A former death row guard at Florida State Prison
recently recalled: "Nollie would just sit on the floor of his cell and rock back
and forth; sometimes he would ramble on and on when no one was speaking to him...Nollie
was simply out of touch with reality most of the time...Nollie was a pathetic sight."
Amnesty International is concerned that Nollie Martin's execution would be in
contravention of United Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 1989/64,
adopted in May 1989, which recommends "...eliminating the death penalty for persons
suffering from mental retardation or extremely limited mental competence, whether
at the stage of sentence or execution."
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
- urging Governor Chiles to grant clemency to Edward Kennedy and Nollie Martin, by
commuting their death sentences;
- expressing deep concern at reports that Nollie Martin faces imminent execution
despite his very serious mental illness; citing UN ECOSOC resolution 1989/64 which
calls on states not to execute persons suffering from mental retardation or extremely
limited mental competence;
- urging that the interests of justice cannot be served by the execution of someone
as mentally impaired as Nollie Martin.
1) The Honorable Lawton Chiles Dear Governor
Governor of Florida
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Telegrams: Governor Chiles, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Telephone: + 1 904 488 2272
Faxes: + 1 904 487 0801