Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A Lakeside man who held three people hostage at his home was sentenced Friday to 10 years in federal prison.

Joseph Anthony Martino, 47, pleaded guilty last year to charges of kidnapping and being a felon in possession of a firearm for confining the three victims at gunpoint at his home on April 1, 2019.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Martino held the victims at gunpoint “in order to confront one of the victims about a personal relationship.”

Prosecutors say Martino initially brandished a loaded .308-caliber rifle at a man and woman, then forced the male victim to drive to another woman’s home, in order to bring her to Martino’s residence. The male hostage was able to escape, but Martino kept the two remaining women hostage by holding a loaded handgun to their heads, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He also fired at least one round near one of the victims, but all three victims were ultimately able to leave the home without being physically harmed, according to court documents.

In a defense sentencing memorandum, Martino’s attorney, Nicholas De Pento, stated that his client reacted emotionally because he had caught one of the victims stealing his property. The filing alleges that the victims — Martino’s girlfriend and two ranch hands who worked for Martino’s father — were also abusive to the defendant’s father, further spurring his rash emotions on the date of the crime.

During a search of Martino’s home, police found around 3,500 rounds of ammunition, 19 different magazines, ballistic body armor, smoke grenades, various rifle upper rails and two lower AR-15 receivers, all of which he was ordered to forfeit as part of the plea agreement.

Show comments