‘No, Debbie’: Dying woman’s 911 call fingers daughter in double slaying

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Illinois Woman Accused of Murdering Parents

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An Illinois prosecutor on Monday described a “bone-chilling” 911 call that captured the last moments of an Arlington Heights woman’s life, and that pointed a finger at the woman’s daughter, who stands accused of stabbing both of her parents to death.

Deborah Jane Martin, 43, of Arlington Heights, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Anne P. Martin, 71, and David G. Martin, 72. The couple were found slain just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday in the home they shared with their daughter at 3 South Derbyshire Lane, Arlington Heights police officials said.

Deborah Martin was ordered held without bond during a Monday court appearance.

According to a police statement, officers went to the home for a welfare check after a 911 call was made from inside the house.

"No discernable conversation took place and officers were dispatched to investigate the open telephone line," police officials said in a news release.

Lorna Amado-Chevlin, a prosecutor with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, described in court Monday what investigators heard when they reviewed the audio of the 911 call, ABC7 in Chicago reported.

Pictured in a September 2018 Street View image is the home where Deborah Jane Martin, 43, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, is accused of fatally stabbing her parents, David G. Martin, 72, and Anne P. Martin, 71, early Saturday, June 8, 2019. She is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Pictured in a September 2018 Street View image is the home where Deborah Jane Martin, 43, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, is accused of fatally stabbing her parents, David G. Martin, 72, and Anne P. Martin, 71, early Saturday, June 8, 2019. She is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

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"The 911 audio captures the defendant's mother gasping for air and moaning," Amado-Chevlin said. "Within seconds of dispatch answering, sounds of movement are heard, followed by the mother of the defendant gasping and pleading, 'No, Debbie.'

“The mother of the defendant is subsequently unable to respond to the 911 operator’s inquiries, but her dying gasps and moans are heard throughout the call.”

First responders found Anne Martin lying on the kitchen floor "with obvious signs of violence," the police statement said. According to The Daily Herald, the blood-covered portable phone she used to call 911 was lying on a kitchen counter.

David Martin, whose throat was slashed, was found near the front door, the Herald reported. A trail of blood led back to a living room recliner, where the attack on him appeared to have begun.

He had also suffered stab wounds to the chest, arm and leg, the Herald said. Anne Martin had seven stab wounds to her chest, two to her neck, one to her back and multiple defensive wounds on her hands.


"Initial assessment by investigating officers found two individuals who suffered traumatic injuries and were without any sign of life," the police news release said. "Arlington Heights Fire Department paramedics were called to the scene. Paramedics determined the victims were beyond medical attention. The scene was secured by police."

As officers tended to the victims, Deborah Martin came downstairs from the second floor. The Chicago Tribune reported that her hair was wet as though she had just showered.

She was the only other person in the home at the time of the double homicide, the newspaper said. Police found a knife in an upstairs bathroom.

In Deborah Martin's bedroom, police said they found bloody clothes, a sheath for the knife and, inside her purse, a May 10 receipt for the purchase of the knife, the Tribune said.

Investigators also found a journal in which Deborah Martin apparently wrote of her desire to kill her parents, ABC7 reported.

“The journal excerpts included multiple entries including her intent to kill her parents, one as recent as June 2, 2019 -- just days before this horrific murder,” Amado-Chevlin said Monday, according to the news station.

Arlington Heights police Cmdr. Joseph Pinnello told the Tribune that Deborah Martin's motive for the slayings was not clear. Just hours before the killings, she had accompanied her parents to dinner at a neighbor's home.

Deborah Martin left the dinner abruptly around 8 p.m. and went home, the Tribune reported. Her parents followed a couple of hours later.

"It's hard to determine what persuaded Deborah to take action against her parents at that particular time," Pinnello told the newspaper.

Deborah Martin has no prior criminal history, though Pinnello said officers have been called to the family's home in the past. He told ABC7 there were "more than a couple" of calls over the years stemming from family arguments involving Deborah Martin.

There were never any allegations of violence, Pinnello said. She wrote on her Facebook page in 2015 that she was recently divorced.

A neighbor, Madeleine Gerrish, told The Daily Herald that David and Anne Martin were "super nice people" who had lived in their home for more than 25 years. According to ABC7, the couple had two adopted children, three step-grandchildren and a grandchild.

Deborah Martin's name was left out of her parents' obituary

David Martin was a U.S. Navy veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He retired after nearly 16 years working for Motorola and described himself as a “grandpa, dad and friend.”

Anne Martin was a retired schoolteacher, the Tribune reported. Jennifer Delgado, a spokeswoman for Township High School District 214, said Martin began working as a resource assistant at Prospect High School in 1988 and worked in that role until 1992.

Anne Martin then spent three years as a part-time English teacher and resource assistant at the high school, Delgado said. In 1995, she moved on to Wheeling High School, where she was an English and social sciences teacher, Delgado told the Tribune.

She officially retired in 2014 but kept working.

"She has been a substitute teacher for us each year since her retirement," Delgado told the newspaper. "We're so sorry to hear about this tragic loss.

“Anne was very positive and uplifting and impacted so many lives.”

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