Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

August 8, 2013

Murder case to keep death penalty

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — The ultimate punishment will stay in play in the death penalty murder case of a Wynnewood defendant accused of brutally beating an elderly man to death during a 2011 home invasion.

A hearing earlier this week ended with a district judge’s decision to deny a defense’s motion to remove the death penalty possibility in the case of Martin High, 42.

Just over a month ago prosecutors formally filed their intention to seek the death penalty if High is found guilty of murdering 84-year-old Glenn Brownlee.

Brownlee was attacked and killed in his Wynnewood residence in late September 2011.

The brutality of Brownlee’s death, caused by being beaten with some type of blunt instrument, led to state officials filing the Bill of Particulars document in Garvin County District Court asking for the death penalty in this case.

High’s defense team was unsuccessful in its argument the death penalty should be “quashed” or eliminated from the case because the paperwork asking for the strongest of punishments was not filed in a timely manner.

A hearing held in a Pauls Valley courtroom was closed because of what was described as “confidential” information related to the case.

After all closed door arguments were made District Judge Greg Dixon ruled against the defense as the death penalty will remain as a possible punishment if High is eventually convicted in the murder case.

“We filed the Bill of Particulars making Martin High eligible for the death penalty on July 3,” said Garvin County Assistant District Attorney Mark Gibson.

“The court denied their motion and this will proceed to trial as a death penalty case.”

Gibson stressed he couldn’t say much more because a gag order had been placed on publicly commenting on the hearing held in a closed courtroom.

At the request of High’s defense the trial has been taken off the district court’s September docket and will be rescheduled for a later time.

It was back on Sept. 29, 2011 when Brownlee’s body was found in his home by local police, who were called to the South Long residence in Wynnewood to check on the man’s welfare.

The body was discovered with what was described as “lots of blood on the floor.”

Officials have said Brownlee died from severe trauma to the head as robbery was considered a possible motive in the beating death.

High has denied having an involvement in the man’s death.

During a hearing last year a state agent testified it was investigative techniques and talking to neighbors living near Brownlee that led to High being considered a suspect responsible for the brutal beating death.

Officials searching High’s residence two days after his arrest have said a T-shirt was found with what appeared to be blood splatters matching Brownlee’s DNA profile.