A St. Louis Park woman has been charged with being part of a large group of people who police say bribed and intimidated witnesses in an effort to help her son, a convicted murderer, get his conviction overturned.
Heidi Marie Mastin, 47, is charged with two felonies: being an accomplice after the fact in aiding an offender by obstructing an investigation, which carries a maximum penalty of a half-life prison term, and bribery, for which the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Nine other people have been charged in the witness-tampering scheme.
Mastin is the mother of Lamonte Rydell Martin, 24, who was convicted in 2007 of first-degree premeditated murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Martin was a member of the I 9 Dipset street gang. He and two others were driving in north Minneapolis on May 3, 2006, when they encountered the victim, Christopher Lynch, walking with his cousin.
When they spotted Lynch, a member of the Tre Tre Crips gang, Martin and Jackson got out of the car and fired handguns at Lynch and his cousin. Lynch died at the scene, and an autopsy revealed that he had been shot 11 to 13 times.
Martin was convicted of first-degree murder in March 2007. He subsequently appealed his conviction on 10 grounds, all of which were rejected by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In August 2011, he asked the court again to overturn his conviction, claiming that he had “newly discovered” evidence involving three state’s witnesses recanting their testimony.
According to the criminal complaint, signed by Minneapolis Police Mastin’s part in the scheme involved getting $500 from a vulnerable senior adult with dementia and depositing into a witness’s prison account in May 2009. Mastin worked for the company that provided personal-care attendant services to the vulnerable adult, the complaint says.
Investigators recorded a number of telephone conversations between Mastin and Martin, who is serving his life sentence at the prison in Oak Park Heights. During those conversations, the two discussed Martin’s appeal and having witnesses sign affidavits, along with paying various witnesses, according to the complaint.
Martin is charged with 12 counts of bribery, witness tampering and being an accomplice after the fact in the scheme.
Mastin has been released from custody on a $50,000 bond.