A Toledo man who recently confessed to the murder of a woman more than four years ago was indicted by the Lucas County grand jury today.
Ronald Martin, 60, was charged with two alternate counts of murder. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
Toledo police said that Martin came to the downtown Safety Building on Nov. 23 and claimed he wanted to confess to murder. He then told a detective that he was responsible for the 2008 death of 40-year-old Lynette Reid, whose badly burned body was found Sept. 17 of that year in an abandoned central Toledo home.
Although Ms. Reid’s death was initially considered suspicious, a toxic level of drugs in her system led officials to believe that she died as a result of an accidental overdose. At the time, her death was determined to be the result of “combined drug intoxication” and was ruled accidental.
Detective Bart Beavers of the department’s cold case squad said that Martin, who has no permanent address, told him that he met Ms. Reid on the day of the incident and that the two were intending to purchase and use drugs together. The detective said that Martin confessed that he became angry with Ms. Reid because he believed that she shortchanged him in the drug transaction.
Martin then told the detective that he strangled Ms. Reid and then set on fire a mattress on which she was lying.
“What he said was consistent with the facts as we know them,” Detective Beavers said.
Martin was arrested Nov. 23 and booked on a charge of aggravated arson. He has been arraigned in Toledo Municipal Court and is being held in custody in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
Detective Beavers said that arson charge was not presented to the grand jury.
Since learning of new information, the coroner’s office is in the process of changing the verdict in Ms. Reid’s death to “combined drug toxicity and asphyxia by application of choke hold” and will determine the manner of death to be homicide.
“He’s somebody who is a long time drug user who has been carrying around a burden that was too heavy to carry,” the detective said.
According to information known at the time, Ms. Reid’s body was found just before 9 p.m. on a mattress in an attic closet on the second floor of the house at 811 Nesslewood Ave., near West Central Avenue. Her body was so badly charred that she was not identified until about one week later with the use of dental records.
Detective Beavers said that authorities found no indication at the time that an accelerant had been used to start the fire. The mattress that Ms. Reid’s body was found on had been so badly burned that only the springs remained, officials had said.
According to court records, Martin had previously served time in prison for a rape conviction from a 1983 case.
Contact Erica Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.