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Plea setting hearing set for juvenile in October shooting

Tate Martinson

A hearing to accept a guilty plea has been set for the 17-year-old charged in the October robbery of a man shot to death near Tom Thumb.

Tate Martinson, of Fort Dodge, was charged with first-degree robbery, a Class B felony, in what police say was a drug deal gone wrong with Mohammed Yaqoub, 28, of Sioux Falls. Yaquob was found dead in his vehicle in the 1400 block of A Street West.

The defendant previously maintained his right to a speedy trial, which requires prosecutors to try him within 90 days. A jury trial was scheduled to start Tuesday; the new motion was filed Monday. In filing the motion, First Assistant County Attorney Ryan Baldridge also noted that defense counsel assured them they would waive that right.

Martinson was charged alongside alleged co-conspirator Damion Chavez, who was arrested on charges of both first-degree robbery and first-degree murder after a manhunt ended in Lowndes County, Georgia.

Responding to a 911 call that evening reporting that a man had been shot, police found Yaqoub in the passenger seat of a black Chevrolet Impala. He was pronounced dead after resuscitation efforts.

Surveillance footage from cameras pointed at the scene show Chavez and Martinson arriving in a Chevrolet Aveo, meeting with Yaqoub and an unnamed fourth person in the Impala, then running back to their vehicle before leaving the area, according to a criminal complaint. It says Chavez and Martinson sat in the back seat of the Impala.

“It is apparent that Yaqoub turned around in the front passenger’s seat to pass Martinson and/or Chavez a package,” the criminal complaint alleges based on surveillance video and an interview with Martinson. “Immediately thereafter, an apparent altercation is observed.”

After the two defendants and the fourth unnamed person exit the vehicle, police said the fourth person realized Yaqoub had been shot.

Officers located Martinson in the Chevy Aveo later that evening in the 600 block of North 10th Street.

The complaint alleges that Martinson and the fourth person confirmed that Chavez fired at least two shots towards Yaqoub.

The Fort Dodge Police Department found multiple holes in the passenger seat’s headrest, “which were consistent with bullet entries and two gunshot wounds to Yaqoub’s chest,” the complaint says.

“Based on the evidence obtained and statements made, it was apparent to officers that the defendant or the other party involved in the alleged offense had no method to pay the victim for the controlled substances to be purchased,” Martinson’s criminal complaint, mirrored in Chavez’s, says. “The defendant had knowledge that an assault would be committed in order to obtain the controlled substances.”

Juveniles charged with crimes classified as forcible felonies are usually referred out of juvenile court to face their charges. Martinson is held on a $100,000 cash only bond.

The hearing to accept the plea is scheduled for Feb. 10.