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Thursday
Mar082012

Wife Blogs ‘What a Guy!’ As She Plots to Kill Husband, Say Cops 

AbleStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- The wife of a Houston firefighter was blogging about their plans to renew their vows and gushing “What a guy!” about her husband while also making arrangements for a hit man to kill him, according to court documents and her personal blog.

Brittany Rachelle Martinez, 24, was sad and scared to death as she appeared before a judge Thursday morning on charges of solicitation of capital murder, her lawyers claimed, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK.

“It’s a bizarre scenario, and we are going to delve into it and talk to as many witnesses as we possibly can,” defense attorney George Parnham told KTRK.

Martinez, an EMT and the mother of two children, was arrested Tuesday and is being held at the Harris County Jail without bail.

Prosecutors said Thursday in court that Martinez tried to arrange the murder plot of her husband, Adrian Martinez. According to court records, Martinez provided a friend with $1,000, along a picture of her husband and a copy of his work schedule, to hire a hit man.

Martinez approached a friend, the manager of a north Houston restaurant call Casa Ole, on Jan. 17 about her marital problems and admitted she wanted him killed, court papers state.

She gave the manager a $500 down payment on Feb. 4 and promised another $1000 to $2,000 after her husband was dead, according to court papers. Martinez said she did not want to have contact with or meet the hit man, the papers state.

On Feb. 21, Brittany Martinez posted lovingly to her blog, Crew de Martinez, about the couple's upcoming wedding anniversary.

“In the overall plan of the year, Adrian and I will be celebrating our 5th anniversary this coming October, for which we will be throwing a formal party/vow renewal,” the blog states. “We will be able to have the wedding we didn’t get to have and say our vows again, this time truly understanding what those words mean. I have picked out the dress, we decided on the venue and the rest is a simple case of creativity and saving. Eeek, I’m so excited! J”

Martinez’s post goes on to comment about the couple’s life in their new home, and updates the progress her two children have made in the past months.

She boasted on her blog about her husband’s career, pointing out that he is a certified firefighter and nationally registered paramedic.

“He also works part-time as a paramedic for the Cy-Fair VFD on their massive ambulances. What a guy!” she posted.

Martinez reached out to her friend again to say she wanted her husband killed as soon as possible, particularly before he noticed she took more money from the bank, the court documents state.

That day, Brittany Martinez dropped off another $500 with her husband’s work schedule, with the dates March 3 and 5 circled. Along with the schedule was a note that indicated her husband’s physical description, vehicle description and the warning, “cameras at the car lot across the street,” court papers allege.

Later that day, the manager recorded a phone conversation he had with Brittany Martinez. According to documents, she was giving detailed instructions on how and when the murder of her husband should occur.

If convicted of the charges, Martinez could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct142011

'We Are the 53 Percent': Standing Up for Those Who Don't 'Whine'

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Seeking to answer a website whose users post testimonials railing against the excesses of Wall Street, a group of conservatives has formed a site of its own to serve as a platform for “[t]hose of us who pay for those of you who whine.”

Drawn up in the style of the “We Are the 99 Percent” blog on Tumblr, the “We Are the 53 Percent” blog also features the handwritten stories of Americans who’ve fallen on hard times.  But rather than calling out the wrongdoing of those in the board room, the conservative posters focus on the proper choices they’ve made in life.

“The key differentiator between the ’99 Percent’ and the ’53 Percent’ really is this notion of individual responsibility,” one of the website’s creators, Josh Treviño, told ABC News.  “It’s this idea that every American, albeit subject to outside forces, is nonetheless accountable for his or her own decisions and own choices.”

Like the “99 percent” site, the “53 percent” blog features photographs of users holding signs they’ve written.  But the testimonials promote hard work and spending within one’s means without incurring debt.

“We have made it by ourselves,” wrote one poster, whose husband saw his business close.  “No one owes us anything!”

“What they’re saying is that they’re not victims,” Treviño said.

The rallying cry “We Are The 99 Percent!” has been heard in New York, Washington and other cities where protesters claim to be representing all but the nation’s top 1 percent of wage earners.

The “53 Percenters” say the liberal-leaning protesters don’t speak for them.  The title of their blog is meant to signify the 53 percent of American households that pay federal income tax, as opposed to the 47 percent who have no federal income tax liability at all.

Liberal critics of the 53 percent blog point out that many Americans who don’t pay federal income tax do pay local and state income, property and sales taxes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug092011

Whole Foods Controversy: Targeting Ramadan

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- The national grocery chain Whole Foods is in the middle of a whole lot of controversy for directing a marketing campaign at Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan -- and then taking it back.

On July 27, food writer Yvonne Mafei wrote about celebrating Ramadan on the Whole Foods company blog The Whole Story.

"Ramadan is fast approaching, and I'm getting my kitchen ready for a month of celebration with my family and community," Mafei wrote. "In case you're not familiar with Ramadan, it is an incredibly important holy month for Muslims. For us, it is a time of reflection -- a time to develop compassion for those who live with hunger and thirst as a way of life, and to do something to help them."

The post was accompanied by a promotion announcing a gift card giveaway during the Muslim holy month and directed customers to try a new line of halal-certified products called Saffron Road.

For a socially conscious company that calls itself "mission driven," offering up a few menu choices and gift cards for an important Muslim holiday seemed like a no-brainer.

The post -- and an accompanying date recipe -- generated enthusiastic comments such as, "This is great. Finally a major retailer has recognized its Muslim customers," and "Whole Foods your support of Ramadan is very much appreciated."

But within days anti-Muslim bloggers like Debbie Schlussel made it clear that they did not appreciate a major national retail chain embracing the Muslim holy month and accused the company of "Islamo-pandering" and being a "shill for jihadist interests."

It all might have ended there if it weren't for an internal Whole Foods email obtained by the Houston Press that suggested that after the negative reaction from conservatives, some Whole Foods stores would now downplay any mention of Ramadan.

The email read in part, "It is probably best that we don't specifically call out or 'promote' Ramadan...We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered 'Celebrating or promoting' Ramadan."

In a statement to ABC News, Whole Foods indicated that the email may have been misunderstood. "Whole Foods Market is NOT canceling our current halal promotion, which is centered around the timeframe of Ramadan...," but the statement went on to say, "We have 12 different operating regions and one region reacted by sending out directions to promote Halal and not specifically Ramadan after some online negative comments."

But that statement is not likely to stem the tide of negativity being directed at Whole Foods Market, because now comments are pouring in from the other side -- customers angry that the socially conscious grocer seemed to capitulate so quickly to anti-Muslim sentiments.

One commenter named Bunnie Watson wrote on the Whole Foods blog: "Just disappointed to hear that Whole Foods has capitulated to a vocal minority that does not believe in the freedom to observe non-Christian religious practices in America."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio