Family awarded $1M for mom’s death

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A judge has awarded $1 million in wrongful death suit against convicted murderer Harold Elton Todd.

Todd was convicted of the March 28, 2009, shooting of his common-law wife, Veronica Martinez. The couple lived together in their T.T. Clark Road home in Opp for 10 years.

The order, signed April 4 by Circuit Judge Lex Short, awards summary judgment to Shelia Williams as administrator of Martinez’s estate.

Short called the murder of Williams’ mother “a particularly heinous murder.” The order stated that that testimony during the trial showed Todd to be an “unfeeling murder who shows no remorse for his actions” as he simultaneously approached and fired a Carbine rifle at Martinez 10 times, including three times in the back.

Todd took the stand in his own defense, claiming he was not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect, and told jurors of seeing UFOs, possessing a “cigarette-smoking, whiskey-drinking, levitating cat” and having the ability to “teleport.”

Throughout the trial, Todd’s attorney Donna Crooks never denied her client was the shooter; instead, she classified him as an alcoholic who had no memory of the actual shooting.

The defense failed, and Todd was convicted in October 2011. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Allen Woodard represented Martinez’s estate.