22-year old Ian “Sage” Little Moon of Chadron has been sentenced to 50-to-62 years in prison for the July 23, 2021, death of 72-year old John “JD” Martinez, the live-in significant other of Little Moon’s older sister and father of two of her children
Little Moon was convicted in October of 2nd-degree murder and felony use of a deadly weapon. District Judge Travis O’Gorman on Thursday gave him consecutive sentences of 40-to-50 years on the murder count and 10-12 years for the weapons charge.
O’Gorman also gave credit for the 567 days Little Moon has been in jail since his arrest. Under Nebraska’s “good time” law, he will be eligible for parole in a little over 24 years and mandatory release in just over 30 years.
Lead prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General Doug Warner told Judge O’Gorman that Little Moon “deserved a long sentence and a long time before being eligible for parole” with substantial minimums and maximums.
Warner called the case as “senseless” a killing as he’s seen with Martinez “an old man” mostly limited to bed while recovering from surgery and with Little Moon unable to remember much of what happened after drinking heavily.
Lead defense counsel Todd Lancaster of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy repeated his argument from the trial that he feels the death was a case of manslaughter, not murder, with Little Moon not intending to kill Martinez and doing so only because his rifle accidentally fired 5 times.
Lancaster said Little Moon could not be more sorry for what he did and how it’s hurt his family, especially his sister – who he feels will never speak to him again – and her children. Little Moon expressed his feelings in a letter to the judge, but not aloud in court.
Judge O’Gorman then handed down the sentence, calling it a ‘tragic and senseless case all around” and one in which no one will likely ever know why Little Moon killed J-D Martinez.
The hearing was interrupted at one point by Johnny Martinez, the victim’s son, who yelled “murdered” as Warner recounted Little Moon’s actions. Judge O’Gorman admonished the audience and said ejections would follow any similar interruptions.
A female relative of Little Moon later began loudly crying and sobbing. Deputies came over and asked her to come outside with them and compose herself, but she firmly and quietly refused and was eventually allowed to remain.
Another incident occurred right after O’Gorman adjourned the hearing when Martinez walked as close as he could to Little Moon and loudly cursed him and said he deserved everything he was getting.
Deputies escorted Martinez out of the courtroom, but he began struggling with them in the hall. Chadron police officers present for the hearing raced into the hallway, but the situation had already calmed. No decision has been made on possible charges.