ST. LOUIS– The St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced this week that investigators for the Missouri Highway Patrol and the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Office have reopened the investigation into the October 14, 1989 death of Jimmie Wade Martin, citing new leads.
Martin died after being found beaten near the Coal Bin Tavern in Bonne Terre. A suspect was charged at the time but the case never went to trial.
Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Gilliam would not comment on the nature of the new information, but says present-day prosecutors don’t have “a clear understanding” of why the case didn’t reach trial. In a statement announcing that the case would be reopened, authorities say they hope technologies available today that didn’t exist in 1989 can help bring resolution.
Gilliam told FOX2 a “True Crime” podcast that is devoted to the case can be given some credit for the renewed look.
Gilliam said the podcast, which involves legwork done by Martin’s daughters and others “was a vehicle that brought the case to our attention.”
FOX2 spoke with two of the people behind that podcast Thursday afternoon. Producer Shawn Lee Martin’s cousins are Jimmie Wade Martin’s twin daughters. Executive Producer and host Chris Hulsey is Shawn Martin’s nephew.
“There was always something compelling and mysterious about this case that the man that was arrested was let go three days before the trial started. So there was always kind of a question mark as to what really happened at the time,” Martin said.
The podcast team does not believe the person initially charged in the case was responsible for Jimmie Wade Martin’s death, but tell FOX2 they believe the person or persons are alive today.
The producers said they met with law enforcement in December and were asked to put the podcast on hiatus so that authorities could take a new look at the case.
“We have to allow law enforcement to do their job properly and not jump the gun and we as people that are documenting this, this process, have to be careful not to share too much to jeopardize the actual prosecution, which is and always has been the main objective of the project,” Hulsey said.
“It’s a small town and everybody knows eachother and there’s a lot of people talking now,” Martin said. “There’s been rumors for all these years but people are now talking and we have law enforcement kind of as a partner and moving the investigation forward to actually bring charges to the person or person that did this.”