Unrepentant gunman gets 18 years in prison for shooting teen in Port

Milwaukee man described as a violent nonconformist tells judge he’s innocent despite attempted homicide plea

A SHACKLED Niyoktron Martin was led into an Ozaukee County courtroom for a sentencing hearing last week by Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Dan Gahan (right) as deputy Brian McInnis looked on. Martin was convicted of attempted homicide for shooting a Port teenager in May. Photo by Bill Schanen IV
Ozaukee Press staff

A 21-year-old Milwaukee man who appalled a community and nearly killed a teenager when he shot him outside the downtown Port Washington apartment where he lived with his parents in May was sentenced to 18 years in prison last week.

Guilty of first-degree attempted homicide, Niyoktron T. Martin was also sentenced by Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams to 12 years of extended supervision.

“We don’t allow thugs to dictate how our community works,” Williams said.

For Martin, the March 1 hearing was a judgment day he tried to avoid. After attempting to withdraw his plea of no contest to a felony that carries a maximum 40 years in prison, Martin told Williams last week that he wanted to fire his third court-appointed attorney, forcing another in a series of postponements. Williams denied both requests, and Martin maintained his innocence during his sentencing hearing.

But Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said there is nothing innocent about Martin, a violent nonconformist with an extensive juvenile court record who on May 20 took aim at a Port Washington teenager fleeing for his life and tried to kill him during a botched carjacking.

Martin, who Gerol said is a suspected member of the Vice Lords street gang, came to Port Washington on May 18 to “hang low” after the fatal shooting of a man in a parking lot off West Good Hope Road, according to a criminal complaint filed in Milwaukee County charging Martin with murder in connection with the man’s death. 

In Port, Martin stayed with Lavander Blanks, his cousin and accomplice in the attempted carjacking, who was living with his fiancee in a Franklin Street apartment at the time. That apartment is where authorities later found the Ruger 9mm handgun with an extended ammunition clip that belonged to the man killed in Milwaukee and was used by Martin in the Port Washington shooting, according to the Milwaukee County complaint.

But Martin apparently didn’t want to stay long in Port, and sometime after 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, he and Blanks saw the 18-year-old sitting in his car on Main Street. The men flanked the car, and Martin pointed the gun at the driver and ordered him to get out of the car. The teenager instead sped away in reverse and Martin opened fire, striking him in the chest.

Bleeding profusely, the teen drove to the police station where an officer met him.

“It was a shot to the chest area,” Williams said during last week’s sentencing. “How fortunate it is for everyone that we’re here on an attempted homicide rather than a homicide.”

Speaking to Martin, Williams said, “For that, sir, you should count your lucky stars.”

The victim’s mother, Stacey Wagner, said she moved with her son to Port Washington because it was ranked one of the happiest places in America to live. He was finishing his senior year at Port Washington High School, and on the night of the shooting had gone to “chill out” and listen to music in the car she had just bought him.

Then she heard gunfire.

“I’m on the phone with police telling them there’s a guy outside my apartment shooting a gun,” she said. “I’m screaming out the window, ‘What are you doing?’

“I didn’t know they were shooting at my son. I didn’t know.”

Wagner said her son told her how, after being shot, he laid down on the car seat as he sped away in reverse to avoid being shot again.

Speaking to Martin, she said, “If it was me, I would have straight-up run you over and not even have batted an eyelash.”

During a hearing the day before the sentencing, Martin and Wagner essentially came face to face as he was being escorted out of the courtroom by a deputy.

“You made a derogatory comment to me yesterday,” she told Martin at the sentencing hearing. “Well, the shoe is on the other foot and you’re going to be in prison within the next couple days. How do you like me now?”

Wagner said her son has moved away and has no interest in returning to Port Washington.

Gerol said the shooting was another in a long list of violent acts committed by Martin, who as a teenager was sent to the Lincoln Hills youth prison after he, his brother  and cousin lured a pizza delivery person to an abandoned house, then attacked and robbed him.

At Lincoln Hills, Martin spent much of his time in secure detention, Gerol said.

“The defendant engaged in fight after fight,” he said. “He will fight anybody’s efforts to control what he does.”

According to a 36-page presentence report, of which six pages were dedicated to Martin’s school discipline history, he attended eight schools but did not earn a high school diploma, Gerol said. He has held one job, a two-month stint at a Penzeys Spices store. 

By the time Martin was 19, he had an adult criminal record — a felony conviction for forgery in Milwaukee County. For that he was sentenced to 49 days in jail he had already served while awaiting trial.

Gerol questioned how such a sentence punished Martin or deterred him from committing other crimes. Ozaukee County, he said, will simply not abide serious crime.

Referring to the Port shooting, Gerol said, “This type of behavior offends the sensibilities of this community. Here in this community, this type of behavior won’t be tolerated.”

Gerol said he was heartened by the fact that several witnesses to the Port shooting, including some who have had run-ins with the law themselves, went out of their to help with the investigation.

“It’s remarkable how many citizens called with any little snippet of information they thought may help,” he said. 

Martin’s attorney Daryl Laatsch, who noted that Martin maintains his innocence despite his plea to the contrary, conceded the Port Washington shooting is “exactly the type of thing people move away from the inner city to avoid.”

Laatsch characterized the shooting as “reckless in the most serious way the word can be used” and suggested that Martin and Blanks were high on marijuana at the time of the crime.

Martin sat nonchalantly at the defendant’s table during his sentencing and smiled as he left the courtroom.

“I would like to say I’m sorry about the victim and what you had to go through,” he said. “I wouldn’t wish that on no one. 

“But there’s no evidence that points to me in this case.”

Williams said, “As you sit here today, you have no remorse for your conduct.”

Then she offered this advice:

“If you want a car, sir, here’s the easiest way to (get one). You get a job and put money aside to buy it.”

Blanks, 27, pleaded no contest to attempted armed robbery in connection with the Port shooting and was sentenced last month by Williams to six years in prison followed by four years of extended supervision. A charge of attempted first-degree homicide against him was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. 


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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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