BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Laurel man accused of murdering his wife in October 2015 by hitting her with a dumbbell while their children were home has been sentenced.

Jason W. Martin, 43, entered an Alford plea to the second-degree murder of his wife, Carla Dee Martin, in November. He will serve 16 years in prison.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea, but one in which the defendant asserts innocence but admits that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

At the November plea hearing, prosecutors told the court that police responded to the Martin home in the 9500 block of Glen Ridge Road at 11 p.m. on October 27, 2015 after receiving a 911 call from the Martins’ next-door neighbor.

The neighbor reported that Martin, blood splattered on his face and clothes, showed up at his home with his children who were ages 12, 8, and 6 at the time, according to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Howard County.

Martin allegedly told the neighbor, “I think I killed Carla,” explaining that they’d had a fight and he “hit her with a dumbbell.”

After calling 911, the neighbor went to the Martin residence where he discovered Carla on the basement floor.

She was unresponsive but had a pulse. Paramedics transported her to Laurel Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

During the three-day sentencing hearing, a defense expert testified that Martin was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder arising from alleged child abuse at the hands of his father more than 25 years ago.

The prosecution expert did not agree with the defense expert witness but testified it was a rage-induced response by Martin.

Though prosecutors sought a 30-year maximum prison sentence, the judge suspended all but 16 years.

The judge also ordered that Martin serve five years of supervised probation upon his eventual release, and that he subject himself to mental health evaluation and treatment.

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