‘That’s me, I take responsibility for it’: Man admits to 2019 killings of Southaven Walmart managers during trial

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:34 PM CST
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HERNANDO, Miss. (WMC) - Thursday morning, after three days of trial, Martez Abram took the stand in DeSoto County court, where he admitted to the slaying of two managers and injury of one police officer inside a Southaven Walmart in 2019.

Abram would present the last testimony before the jury would deliberate on a possible conviction.

He was charged for the 2019 shooting deaths of two of his co-workers at the Southaven Walmart, Brandon Gales and Anthony Brown, while also shooting and injuring a Southaven police officer.

As the defense’s witness, Abram was questioned by his attorneys first, asking about his work history at Walmart leading up to the day of the shooting in 2019.

Abram said he’d worked at Walmart for 20 years, working his way into a supervisory role.

Days before the shooting, Abram said he had a confrontation with a subordinate and was called into the manager’s office.

According to Abram, the manager in the room was Brown, and the result of that confrontation was Abram being suspended for several days.

Then, on July 30, 2019, Abram returned to Walmart, shooting and killing Brown and Gales.

He also started a fire in the store using a gallon jug of gasoline he carried into the store in a backpack.

Abram, on the stand, said he suffered from memory loss and didn’t recall the sequence of events.

“I remember running in, and I remember running out,” Abram said to his attorney. “I just remember running. I didn’t even know if it was me.”

A moment later, Abram admitted to the shooting to his attorney.

“That’s me,” he said. “I take responsibility for it.”

Onto the prosecution, District Attorney Robert Morris asserted his belief that Abram’s arson was pre-planned and that the killings of Gales and Brown merited a capital murder conviction.

Morris presented a list hand-written by Abram.

It read: “Things I need: Fill gas thing, get rented car, get gas and fill container, 5:30 be there.”

Abram filled two one-gallon jugs with gasoline, one of which he would later use inside to start the fire.

The other was, as we understand it, a spare that he left in the car in case the first one wasn’t enough.

Abram then rented a Kia Soul from Memphis International Airport, filling it with multiple guns, a knife, and body armor.

Morris then presented all of the weapons that were taken from the vehicle and from Abram’s person on the day of the shooting.

Later, the surveillance video from July 30, 2019, was shown to Abram, the jury, and the entire courtroom.

Emotions ran high as the courtroom watched Abram shoot and kill Brown in the parking lot and later Gales inside the store.

With all of the evidence, Morris said capital murder is the only conviction because Abram planned to commit arson and killed during the commission of that crime.

By law, he said, that is capital murder.

The jury subsequently agreed, convicting Abram of two counts of capital murder and one count of attempted murder.

What comes next is sentencing.

Capital murder comes with one of two sentences: life without parole or the death penalty.

The jury will decide that sentence Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.

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