Prosecutor recommends 18 years for gunman in Port shooting

One of two men charged in attack pleads no contest, faces long prison sentence
By 
BILL SCHANEN IV
Ozaukee Press staff

One of two Milwaukee men charged in the May 20 shooting of a teenager outside his downtown Port Washington apartment pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree intentional homicide Tuesday and will face a recommended 18-year prison sentence when he appears in an Ozaukee County courtroom next month. 

Assistant District Attorney Patti Wabisch also recommended that after Niyoktron Martin, 21, has served his time behind bars, he be placed on extended supervision for 12 years.

Other charges against Martin — attempted armed robbery, bail jumping, endangering safety by the reckless use of a firearm and obstructing an officer — were dismissed but read into the record, which means Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams can consider them when she sentences Martin on Jan. 31.

Martin could be sentenced to a maximum 40 years in prison. 

Martin’s accused accomplice, Lavander L. Blanks, 27, who was also charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, is scheduled to appear before Williams for a plea hearing on Dec. 14.

The investigation into the Port Washington shooting helped authorities build another case against Martin, who is charged in Milwaukee County with felony murder for allegedly shooting a man to death in a parking lot off West Good Hope Road two days before the Port incident and stealing his gun — the 9mm used to shoot the Port teenager on East Main Street, according to authorities.

And details in the criminal complaint filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court explain what Martin was doing in Port Washington at the time of the May 20 shooting.

Blanks, who is Martin’s cousin, was living with his fiancee in a Port Washington apartment on Franklin Street at the time of both the Milwaukee and Port shootings. Although he is not implicated in the Milwaukee incident, he apparently knew Martin was involved. 

According to the Milwaukee County criminal complaint, Blanks’ fiancee told investigators that Blanks was watching a television news story about the May 18 murder of the Milwaukee man when he told her he was worried about Martin and decided to invite him to stay with them in Port Washington.

She said Martin was dropped off at her apartment later on the day of the Milwaukee shooting and told her and Blanks that he needed to “hang low because things are hot in Milwaukee,” the complaint states.

While Martin took Blanks up on his offer to hide out in Port Washington, he apparently didn’t want to stay long. In what police said was an apparent attempted car-jacking, Martin and Blanks approached the Port Washington teenager, who was 18 at the time, as he was sitting in his car on East Main Street just before 11 p.m. Sunday, May 20, according to the criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County.

Port Washington police officer Jerry Nye testified during a May 31 preliminary hearing that the teenager told him one of the men, who authorities identified as Martin, pointed a gun at the driver’s side window, ordered him out of the car and, as the teen put the car into reverse, opened fire. 

Wounded in the shoulder area, the teenager backed onto Franklin Street and drove to the police station while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher.

According to the 911 recording, he told the dispatcher, “I’ve just been shot. They shot me in my car .... They shot my window out .... I’m bleeding everywhere, ma’am. I’m bleeding out. Oh my God ... I have to call my mom and dad.”

The teenager was taken by ambulance to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, then flown by helicopter to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa. He was released the day after the shooting.

Although the teen didn’t get a good look at his attackers, he did see the gun one of them pointed at him, Nye said. 

“He described it as a gun that looked similar to an Uzi,” Nye said, referring to a small automatic weapon that typically uses a high-capacity magazine. “He described it as looking like a handgun with an extended magazine.”

Footage from downtown video cameras shows two men who authorities say were Martin and Blanks walking west on East Main Street, then north on North Wisconsin Street near the police station minutes after the shooting. Footage from a camera at the station shows the men picking up their pace and cutting through a parking lot behind the apartment of Blanks’ fiancee, where they were arrested the next day.

Inside the apartment, authorities found  a 9mm handgun — the gun that according to authorities was owned by the Milwaukee man Martin is charged with killing — and two clips, one of which was an extended, 30-round magazine. A bullet found on the stairs of the apartment matches one found at the scene of the shooting just blocks away, authorities said. 

Blanks, who was convicted in Milwaukee County of armed robbery in 2013 and sentenced to three years in prison and four years of extended supervision, is charged in Ozaukee County as a repeat offender.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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