Deputies: Suspect planned attack days earlier, shot teen execution-style

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Deputies believe an 18-year-old suspected of shooting a Sebastian River High School football player execution style last week planned the attack days earlier.

Elisha Martin
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Indian River County Sheriff’s Detective Michael Dilks said suspect Elisha Martin believed Logan Spencer stole a large amount of money from his home. Dilks said the money, believed to be about $20,000, was made from Martin’s drug sales.

“Through interviews, (we learned) he told people he was going to kill whoever stole the money,” Dilks said. Deputies could not confirm if any money was actually stolen from the home.

“No police report was made and we cannot prove that,” Dilks said.

Two witnesses told detectives that Martin confessed to them that he shot and killed Spencer, reports show. Martin walked Spencer into a wooded area, acted like he was urinating and then shot the teen in the back of the head when he looked away, authorities said.

There have been two homicides to happen in the county this year so far. Deputies said Martin, who did not have a job, often sold marijuana and used the profits to purchase his vehicle.

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.Indian River County Sheriff's Office Sheriff Deryl Loar details how 18-year-old Elisha Martin picked up the victim, 16-year-old Logan Spencer, drove him to a wooded area in Fellsmere and then shot him execution-style. Deputies said Martin, who sold marijuana, thought Spencer stole a large amount of cash from his home. #VeroNews

Posted by Nick Samuel on Friday, March 1, 2019

 

Martin, of the 600 block of Carnival Terrace, Sebastian, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder. Martin had a first appearance Friday and remains at the Indian River County Jail without bond.

The .38 caliber revolver used in the shooting was found in a room at Martin’s home, Dilks said. Dilks said a bullet fragment at the crime scene matched the firearm.

Candlelight Vigil

Martin and Spencer, who were close friends, both attended Sebastian River High School, deputies said. Spencer, 16, of Sebastian, was in his junior year while Martin was in his senior year.

A candlelight vigil for Spencer, who played football at his high school, was held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Barber Street Football Field. More than 200 people, including family, friends, football teammates and teachers, were in attendance.

“You could have the deepest conversation with him. He was always ears,” said Spencer’s teammate and best friend Bailey Dennis, 17, of Sebastian, on Thursday night. “He was like a big brother to everybody. He meant a lot to me, made his mark and will be remembered forever.”

Spencer was remembered Thursday as a ‘protector’ and ‘gentle giant’ who always had his teammates’ back. Deputies said it was crucial to track down the suspected shooter to bring closure to Spencer’s family.

The Investigation

Dilks said detectives began interviewing people the night Spencer’s body was found. Deputies spoke with more than 30 individuals, who gave them key details to help locate Martin.

At the time of Martin’s arrest, he was currently awaiting drug court for a possession of marijuana charge he was given in January, deputies said. If convicted, Martin could face the death penalty trial for the death of Spencer, Dilks said.

A resident found Spencer’s partially decomposed body on Feb. 21 in a wooded area in Fellsmere. The body was about 25 yards in the woods, Dilks said.

Spencer was reported missing Feb. 18, the same day he was last seen on a neighbor’s surveillance footage being picked up by Martin from his girlfriend’s home, deputies said. That was the last time anyone heard from the teen.

Deputies said Martin contacted Spencer on Feb. 18 through Snapchat, a mobile app, to make plans to hang out. Martin told deputies he never heard back from the teen, which later proved to be false.

Martin picked up Spencer under a “ruse” that the two were going to shoot guns in Fellsmere, reports show. Spencer’s girlfriend communicated with Spencer through Snapchat after he left the home, authorities said.

“Shortly after he left, he stopped responding and she never heard from him again,” reports show.

Martin drove Spencer in a Chrysler 300 to the 13000 block of 87th Street. The man led Spencer out of the vehicle, into the woods and then shot the teen at close range – within 4 or 5 feet – in the back of the head, according to Dilks and reports.

A witness said Martin contacted him a day before the incident and asked if he or she could buy “clean” .38 caliber rounds for him from Walmart, report show. The witness did not purchase the rounds, deputies said.

Last week, deputies initially arrested Martin, who gave them multiple stories about his interactions with Spencer. Martin said he dropped the teen off in Fellsmere and then left.

Martin has an arraignment at 8:45 a.m. April 12, court records show.

Funeral arrangements for Spencer were not available. An obituary for the teen can be found on the Strunk Funeral Home website.

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