Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Joshua Philips Martin is an ass. The Virginia man -- he's 25 -- liked to pull pranks, according to those who know him, and boy, he pulled a doozy last June.

Martin was on the fourth day of his job as a rescue-squad worker. He decided to zap a co-worker with the defibrillator paddles.

Courtney Hilton Rhoton, 23, was that colleague.

Martin this week pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter. He faces up to a decade in prison when he's sentenced in March.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch writes it up thisaway:
According to (prosecutor Mike) Bush, if the case had gone to trial, a witness would have testified that Martin, an EMT, was in the back of a Highlands Ambulance Service ambulance on June 1 when he first picked up the paddles of the manual defibrillator.

Defibrillators are used to restore heartbeats, but they can also stop a heart. Martin, though an EMT, was not yet qualified to use the defibrillator and had been told it is not something to play with, Bush said.

Rhoton was in the front passenger seat of the ambulance, and driver Michael Coleman was heading south on U.S. 19 in Lebanon when Coleman heard Rhoton tell Martin not to touch her "with that," Bush said. Coleman looked back to see Martin putting the paddles away.

But shortly afterward, Bush said, Coleman heard the "sound of a shock" and heard Rhoton yell: "Oh my God, Mike, he shocked me!" Seconds later she stiffened and then went limp. Coleman frantically tried to hold her slumping body up while driving and calling the private ambulance company's office.

Rhoton, who had been an EMT for one year, never regained consciousness. She left behind two children, Christopher and Tamra, now 6 and 4.
We're supposed to feel bad because Martin's family was crying in the courthouse corridors. His aunt said he was a "good kid." And a stupid, stupid man.


Anonymous said...

he may be a good kid but he's about as smart as a tree stump!

Anonymous said...

Paddled to death. In some parts of the country, I hear that costs $300 an hour.

Anonymous said...

Hope he enjoys the shock of prison.

Anonymous said...

I've been a paramedic (and field-trainer) for seven years, and an EMT for about five more beyond that.

I've met a lot of stupid EMTs and paramedics throughout the years... but I have NEVER met one as stupid as this guy apparently is. WTF could he have possibly been thinking?!?

I have been rather fascinated with this case ever since I first heard of it a few years ago. No matter how hard I try, I cannot wrap my mind around what he was thinking.

Even assuming she hadn't died, did he honestly think that she wouldn't mind, and that he wouldn't be fired for such remarkably asinine behavior?! Did he not think that--at the very least--it would hurt like hell and land him in a s--- storm of trouble?

Seriously, WTF?

Anonymous said...

This topic hasn't even been looked at in years, until now that is. The rude comments of Josh should have "tested them on himself" first & things of that nature? They're way off.

I truly feel sorry for the family & children who lost a loved one due to Josh's actions. I cannot express how horrible I feel about the loss of a mother to those two innocent children.

At the same time though, people might want to get it straight.

Josh Martin is my brother. He's quite a bit older than me, & I had just started high school when this happened. I love Josh. He's a good person, works hard, & isn't the most mature of people. He's always acted like a big kid. He's always joked around. He's always poked at me and aggravated me. Everyone has a personality, & that just so happens to be Josh's personality.

I wouldn't dare ever say that what he did wasn't wrong. It was. Josh goes too far with jokes sometimes.

The other side of the story though?

Josh didn't turn on the defibrillators to my knowledge. They were actually already turned on. The crew in the ambulance before Josh & the others got in had left them on, again, to my knowledge.

At the same time though, did anyone see the news break a few months later? A defibrillator recall? Hm, the same kind of defibrillator that was installed in the ambulance that Josh was in.

Like my family said, you would have to know Josh. He's a big kid at heart, and despite his mistakes, he has, and always will be a good person, and my brother.

Again, my family is truly deeply sorry for the loss of the family's loved one. Nothing we, or Josh, could ever do could make up for this loss. No one has defended Josh. Our family has only felt sorry for the young lady's family, and especially her children. No one deserves to die, no one.

I was just clarifying a few things for you ignorant people who read this. And for those of you who said Josh should have used them on himself? Fuck you.

Anonymous said...

Ummm...Josh brother..of course you are biased. He's your brother. Think about if someone would have done this preventable thing to your brother you'd be cursing them just the same.

You are insensitive if you can't see why other ppl aren't mad. We don't care if he was your brother or a stranger. What he did was stupid. What did he do fall asleep in class?? Even elementary students know electricity is harmful.

If would have been a better idea to experiment on himself..that would have been voluntary. But to experiment with an unsuspecting, unwilling participant is just inhumane.

Is your entire family barbaric?? Don't act like you don't understand other ppl's point of view.

Anonymous said...

frightening that this moron was an EMT. no wonder people are afraid to go to hospitals or call 911. he should have been cleaning toilets or washing dishes with the rest of the worlds dumb people.

Anonymous said...

yea, brotherdude? your brothers a moron and should have never been an emt. thats whats frightening about this whole thing. that a guy that should have been selling fries or taking ticket stubs or money at the toll booth, was employed in the business of saving lives.

Anonymous said...

brotherdude, one more thing. all that you say about defib recalls, and who did or didnt turn them on... even if they were turned on, and were defective, they still would not have killed her if YOUR BROTHER DIDNT PUT THEM TO HER CHEST! seriously!

Anonymous said...

Josh's Brother-- It sucks that your family has to bear the fallout of your brother's murderous immaturity. But there's no doubt--you do not fuck with medical equipment, especially the defibrillator! Nothing about what he did is innocent or funny. If Josh had any sense whatsoever, he would never have played with the defib and he DEFINITELY wouldn't have put them anywhere near a colleague. He deserves the punishment he got, if not more. He murdered a girl--period.

Anonymous said...

I like a good joke as much as the next guy. Hell, I'm one of the first to initiate a good prank. This was no prank, and this was no accident.

I just read about this again on a EMS tribute page. What a complete tool this guy was. There is no excuse whatsoever, no mitigating factor, and no one else's fault. Clear and simple, this was the murder of an innocent person; the mother of two children. My sympathy is solely with her and her family, and ESPECIALLY her children.

The comments in the media from the murderer's family are infuriating and show an unbelievable lack of compassion for his victim, and a lack of understanding of the horror of his act.

This was no different than screwing around with a firearm or a Taser resulting in someone's death.

I hope he got the maximum sentence and spends every day of it in prison.