Judge John C. Ford put an end to a four-year long case Tuesday morning when he imposed a sentence of 40 years on Ron Martin.


Judge John C. Ford put an end to a four-year long case Tuesday morning when he imposed a sentence of 40 years on Ron Martin.
Martin's sentence length was enhanced by the habitual offender law, which increases the range of a possible sentence from 40 years to the possibility of life in prison.
"The court has considered all the guidelines set forth by the statute, as well as other aggravating factors such as the conduct of the defendant along with the conduct of the mother immediately after the incident," Judge Ford said as he prepared to announce his decision.
Martin was found guilty in October of 2009 for the death of his ten-week-old daughter, Gladys Marie "Gladdie" Martin, who was in Martin's care at the time she received brain damage that led to her death on November 29, 2006.
During Martin's trial, Ford had indicated his disapproval of the actions of baby Gladys' mother, Sheila Newhouse, immediately after the incident. Newhouse is alleged to have concocted a story with Martin to take the blame herself for Gladdie's injuries before driving the infant to Beauregard Memorial Hospital for treatment.
It wasn't until after the infant was pronounced dead at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport that Martin confessed to dropping the infant.
The habitual offender law increases the range of years a convicted felon may serve, giving the court a choice of anywhere from 40 years to life, if the offender has been charged with a minimum of four felonies.
Martin has been charged with five, including the charges for his daughter's death and a third offense of possession of marijuana, which occurred while the child was still in the hospital suffering from her injuries.
Though it was the minimum sentence Martin could have received, Ford remarked that it may prove to be a longer sentence than it seems.
"Given the defendant's age, 37 years old, this could have the possibility of being a life sentence," Ford said.
Martin now has 30 days to appeal his sentence.
Martin's case was prosecuted by Paul Knight and Julie Cullen of the state attorney general's office. Immediately after sentencing, Knight commented that he was pleased with the sentence.
"Cases like this are why we have the habitual offender law," Knight said. "I think it was appropriate for this case, and I am pleased with the outcome."
Knight also said that he was thankful for the closure that the sentencing may now bring the family of baby Gladys, including her mother, Sheila Newhouse.
"The family has gone through a lot, they deserved this," Knight said.
But not all of the family members are satisfied with the outcome, believing instead that justice has not been  fully served for Gladys Martin.
Diane Harmon, Glady's Martin's great aunt on her father's side, said she believes that her nephew is not the only person responsible for the baby's death. 
"What happened to the baby was a horrible thing," she said in a phone interview after her nephew's sentencing. "But more people should be held accountable."
Harmon especially alluded to Newhouse's actions, including leaving the baby in Martin's care at the time the infant sustained the injuries that led to her death.