February 12, 2013
WAPAKONETA — A Marine who pleaded guilty in December to breaking a window at the town’s Democratic Headquarters wants to withdraw his plea.
John Martens, 21, was in Auglaize County Municipal Court on Tuesday telling Judge Gary Herman he wanted to change his guilty plea to criminal damaging, a second-degree misdemeanor.
“I just did not completely understand what I was facing. I thought I was going to come in here, plead guilty and pay a fine,” he said.
Martens and his attorney said the criminal case is affecting his status as a Marine but did not go into details. Martens was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday when he filed the motion to withdraw his plea.
Martens is accused of breaking a window by punching it July 29 at Auglaize and Perry streets.
Police reported Martens had been drinking at a nearby bar. He left and was walking down the street when he punched a window at the Democratic Headquarters. Martens left blood at the scene after cutting himself on the window glass, a Wapakoneta police clerk said.
Herman gave the prosecution 15 days to respond to Martens request to withdraw his plea. After that, Herman will consider the matter and issue a ruling.
Martens said he was willing to pay for the damage he caused and wants the case over.
“I just want to continue on with my life,” he said. “I understand what I did, but I have no recollection what I did.”
He stood before Herman dressed in his service uniform.
Following the incident, Martens told people at the scene they had no idea what he saw and went through while on duty in Afghanistan. After police arrived, they heard Martens making comments about a Muslim, possibly referring to President Barack Obama who some claim is Muslim.
Martens attorney said Martens was left with the impression the matter was over and no charges would be filed, only to discover police did file charges after he reported back to his base Aug. 14.
Martens said police told him any charges would be filed before Aug. 14, if any were filed at all.
“I’m just flabbergasted,” he said.