Court docs: Woman shot man in the head, allegedly had help hiding the body in freezer

Melissa Martin, the woman accused of shooting and killing a man in Hillyard, pleads not guilty during her first court apperance.
Melissa Martin, the woman accused of shooting and killing a man in Hillyard, pleads not guilty during her first court apperance. Copyright 4 News Now

SPOKANE, Wash. — The woman accused of killing a man in northeast Spokane shot him in the head and hid his body in a freezer, according to newly filed court documents. The body was discovered Thursday.

Melissa Leeann Martin, 36, was arrested for second-degree murder on Friday, the following day.

According to court documents, Martin and the victim had been doing drugs together in the basement of a home near Rockwell and Pittsburg. Court documents state Martin passed out, but awoke to the victim having sex with her without her permission. She reportedly told him to get off, but he said he would do it again at another time.

BRIAN RILEY IN COURT ON FEBRUARY 24, 2020. Copyright 4 News Now

Copyright 4 News Now

According to court documents, Martin moved to another part of the house and told her roommates about the assault, but did not report it to police.

Later that afternoon, Martin reportedly went down to the victim’s room to ask about getting heroin. Court documents state the victim touched Martin inappropriately and then went to weigh the drugs.

According to court records, that is when Martin fired a single round from her pistol into the back of the victim’s head. Police said they were never notified of the shooting, so they were unable to try to save the victim’s life.

Police said they found the victim’s body in a freezer and noticed attempts to cover up the crime when they searched the house. Court documents show bleach and other cleaners were used in an attempt to clean up blood. Police said Martin also set fire to blood-soaked items in the house and in the backyard fire pit.

According to records, Brian Riley helped Martin move the body to the freezer and clean up before leaving the house.

Riley was arrested Sunday night after a chase through Spokane Valley that ended on Spokane’s lower south hill. Riley hit a dead end near Pacific and Myrtle. 4 News Now spoke with a woman who watched Riley get arrested behind her house.

“All of a sudden, they came back around and then they had the guy, they’re trying to handcuff him, and he was fighting them and wouldn’t let them put her to the ground,” said Nicole Wagner, a nearby resident.

Riley was wanted on second-degree murder charges stemming from the northeast Spokane incident, but is also suspected of shooting a man in a different incident near E. 7th in Spokane Valley. He faces additional charges of attempted first-degree murder, attempting to elude law enforcement and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Martin and Riley made their first appearances in court Monday.

Martin was quiet when she faced the judge. Martin, however, was more vocal. He fired his public defender during his first appearance. He also gave the judge his account of what happened when he came in contact with detectives.

“I plead the fifth and and decided to remain silent. They had the jail staff assault me, strap me into a chair and keep me in it for four hours. Forced me to obtain DNA from me against my will and my rights,” Martin said in court.

Riley said to the judge, he was put on suicide watch, but said he is not suicidal.

Martin and Riley both pleaded not guilty and had their bonds set at $500,000.

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Editor’s note: We have edited the location to reflect that the murder did not happen in Hillyard limits; it was actually in the Bemiss Neighborhood.