Duct Tape Nightmare: Son Finds Father Wrapped Up from Head to Toe


By Tatiana Gasca and Jeramie Gutierrez 

ALAMEDA, CA — Despite not wanting to relive his trauma, the son of a murder victim testified here Tuesday in a jury trial for the alleged killer in Alameda County Superior Court. 

The defendant, David Martin, is charged with committing murder in November 2018. The victim’s son found his father on the ground and bound in duct tape at his own home.

The primary paramedic testified that they received a phone call late at night, with what appeared to be an agitated man on the phone. He was severely impatient and told the paramedics to arrive as soon as possible. 

When asked about his appearance, the paramedic responded, “I would say young, Latino, and probably in his 20s. I would say, like, skinny to medium weight. Average height. Short hair.”

While the man waited outside, the paramedics found the victim lying on his back, clothes disheveled, and pieces of duct tape around his body. They immediately began checking for a pulse. 

“We started to completely move the duct tape so we could put the electrodes on the individual. That’s when I saw there was no cardiac radar showing on the monitor, and so at this point the individual was deceased. I pronounced the body dead.”

The paramedic testified that there were no obvious signs of trauma and that the blood seemed to naturally flow out of the victim’s body. Blood was also found on the floor near the body. However, there were no determinable blood spatters that could lead police officers to the cause of death. 

As they began leaving the crime scene, the primary paramedic mentioned, “I remember being in the back of the ambulance when she asked me, ‘I have some of this duct tape on me from the electrodes. Should I dispose of it?”

The paramedic was referring to their partner who happened to retrieve small pieces of duct tape from the victim’s body. Though it was unclear if the pieces were disposed of or not, it only complicated the case further. 

Police officers perceived the victim’s son to be an alleged suspect and had their guns drawn toward him. When the defense attorney asked why he failed to communicate with the officers, the victim’s son grew more aggravated. 

Judge Michael Gaffey stepped in and responded, “Here’s what I’m saying. Your role is different than everybody else’s in the courtroom. Your role is to tell us a little bit about what happened one night in your life. A very tragic night. A very hard day for you, I’m sure.”

The victim’s son stated that he wanted to move past this situation from two years ago and struggled to retain his memory. 

From what he could remember, he had recently moved out of his father’s home and forgotten his heater. He called his father letting him know that he would pick up the item the following day.  

The morning of the incident, the son did not hear from his father throughout the entire day. He became increasingly worried and drove around the neighborhood looking for him. 

At this point, he believed his father might have been in danger. 

“He might have got robbed or something. You know what I’m saying. The streets, walking, his car was there. You know what I’m saying. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. It’s a lot of stuff going on in Oakland, California where he lives. 

“A lot of young men jumping on a whole lot of elderly people. My dad was 51 years old. So…how would you feel? He was gone from 10 in the morning ‘til 4. No answer. You tell me how’d it be,” he added.

Once he arrived at his father’s home, he began calling him and knocking at the door. When there was no response, he parked his car under the bathroom window. The victim’s son proceeded to climb his car and tried to slide the bathroom window open. When he realized there was no way of getting inside, the victim’s son called a locksmith. 

“When the door opened. What did you see?” asked the DA. “I seen my dad laying there. Right on the floor” responded the witness. 

Immediately, he got a knife and tried to cut the duct tape that had been wrapped around his father, and explained, “It was all over the place. His feet, his chest, his head. Wrapped around his leg one time. Cut. Wrapped around his chest. One time. Cut. Wrapped around his head. Couple times. Cut.” 

Later, in the same courtroom, fueling more confusion, police officer witnesses shared their account—most of it contradicting the account of the victim’s son—of the crime when they arrived at the scene.

One police officer mentioned that $15,000 was recovered on the scene. Also, a screen window that fits the exact dimensions of the bathroom window that the victim’s son claimed was locked was found on top of a vehicle outside the residence. 

On top of that, more than one police officer witness agreed that the victim’s son was “argumentative and generally uncooperative” when consulted.

About The Author

Tatiana Gasca is a fourth year student at UC Berkeley, double majoring in Legal and Ethnic Studies. She is originally from Orange County, CA.

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