Maine State Police detectives and evidence recovery technicians investigate in October 2020 a mobile home on Squire Court in Winthrop where Joshua Martin, 30, was shot and killed. A woman who was initially charged with felony murder in connection to the case had that charge dropped Tuesday. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — A New York woman initially charged with felony murder in the shooting death of a New York man at a Winthrop mobile home park in 2020 had that charge dismissed as part of a plea deal with state prosecutors who acknowledged she didn’t fire the gun that killed him.

Another woman, from Connecticut, has now been arrested and charged with felony murder in connection to that same death.

Court testimony Tuesday indicated Kiera Francis, 30, of the Bronx, a borough of New York City, did not shoot the late Joshua Martin — another man did, though that man has not been charged.

The Connecticut woman, Skylee Negron, 24, is not accused of shooting Martin, but has been charged with felony murder in his death. A felony murder charge can be brought in Maine when a victim dies while certain crimes, including robbery, are being committed and the crime the suspect was involved with is considered a cause of the death.

The confusing turn in the investigation and prosecution in the shooting death of Martin came out Tuesday as part of the plea and sentencing of Francis on the lone remaining charge, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. Her felony murder and robbery charges were dismissed by a state prosecutor.

Martin was shot and killed in a mobile home on Squire Court in Winthrop in October 2020.


With the Class A felony murder and robbery charges dismissed, Francis was sentenced on the remaining Class C reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon charge to five years in prison with all but 672 of those days suspended, and two years probation. The 672 days was selected because that’s how much time Francis has already served following her arrest, so she is expected to be released imminently, according to Scott Hess, one of her defense attorneys along with Lisa Whittier.

Prosecutor Lisa Bogue, an assistant attorney general, told Justice Michaela Murphy the state now believes a man, whom she identified by his last name but who the Kennebec Journal is not naming because he has not been charged with a crime, shot Martin. She said he has not been charged in the shooting.

A spokesperson for the state Office of the Attorney General later declined to comment on whether the man would be charged in the case.

The man allegedly shot and killed Martin after Martin and Francis had fought over a gun that Francis had been holding, and, in that scuffle, Francis apparently was shot in the leg. The man then shot Martin.

The scuffle over the gun started after Martin, at least one witness told police, used a window to enter the mobile home occupied by Francis and others. The two, who previously had a romantic relationship, then argued for two or three hours. At times the argument was heated, and a witness told police he saw Francis waving a gun around — a Smith and Wesson that was not the gun that fired the shot that killed Martin.

Maine State Police detectives and evidence recovery technicians in October 2020 photograph vehicles and a mobile home on Squire Court in Winthrop where Joshua Martin was killed. A woman who was initially charged with felony murder in connection to the case had that charge dropped Tuesday. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

Bogue said Francis had contacted other people to come help her as she wanted to either leave the mobile home, or get Martin to leave. Negron and the man apparently responded by coming to the mobile home. Bogue said at some point items had been taken from Martin during the dispute.


Martin’s supporters, including the mother of his young, lone child, Harrisma Kettles, and her mother, Inez Burns, testified Tuesday from Rochester, New York, via Zoom, that Martin’s family is devastated by his death and his mother committed suicide because of it. They believe the plea deal and sentence for Francis, whom they said they fear because she has previously threatened them, was far too lenient.

“His mother took her life because of this,” an emotional Kettles said on audio played in the courtroom at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. “She was the only help I had with my son, who doesn’t have a father. Doesn’t have a father to help him ride a bike, to take him to school. All (Francis’) friends were there, she made it happen. I feel like she’s not being held accountable. I don’t understand how it could be self-defense when he was shot in the head.”

Burns said Francis had threatened them previously and had threatened to kill Martin and his son.

“We’re scared of this girl, she might come kill my daughter, and my grandson,” Burns said. “So what do we do as a family, as a grandmother? She’s not showing remorse, she’s not sad, she’s just sitting there like a stone-cold killer. My whole family is traumatized.”

Bogue, asked by Murphy whether the state had investigated the reports of threats to Martin’s family, said family members had mentioned they felt they had been threatened. But, Bogue said, reviews of phone calls from Francis while in jail, did not indicate she made any threats. She said the family members and Francis had apparently been in disputes prior to Martin’s death.

A criminal complaint filed with the courts in the arrest of Negron, who made her initial court appearance Oct. 21 after being extradited from New York, alleges on Oct. 3, 2020, she “acting alone or with one or more other persons in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or immediate flight after committing or attempting to commit murder, and/or robbery, Skylee Negron or another participant in fact caused the death of a human being, namely Joshua Martin, and the death was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of such commission, attempt or flight.”


Murphy said it would be an understatement to say the case for felony murder against Francis would be challenging for the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and agreed the plea agreement, while understandably hard for Martin’s family to accept, was a reasonable outcome.

“There have been some twists and turns in this case, for sure,” she said.

Tuesday’s court session was originally scheduled as a hearing to review Francis’ bail, but Murphy said she was informed that both sides of the case had come to an agreement.

Francis was arrested by police in Waterville during a traffic stop in February 2021.

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