A hitman who fatally shot a young mother in front of her 3-year-old daughter was paid with a federal loan meant to help small businesses during the pandemic, according to police in Florida. Jasmine Martinez had requested the Paycheck Protection Program loan to keep her beauty salon operating, though it's unclear if the salon actually existed, per the Miami Herald. She received $15,000 on April 20, 2021, then used a portion to pay the hitman to kill a woman with whom she violently feuded, Miami-Dade police said in an arrest warrant released Tuesday, per the New York Times. Police said she withdrew more than $10,000 from her bank account in the days before May 3, when a man fatally shot 24-year-old Le'Shonte Jones as she walked with her daughter, who was grazed by bullets.
The 33-year-old Martinez and her boyfriend, 35-year-old Romiel Robinson, are both charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Lawyers for both said they denied any involvement in the killing of Jones, who worked for the TSA at Miami International Airport, per the Herald. Police have also arrested 29-year-old Javon Carter, who previously served time in prison with Robinson and is accused of firing the fatal shots. A cellphone video shows him counting money hours after the shooting, saying it's "just another day at the office," according to the arrest warrant. He's charged with the first-degree murder of Jones, who died at the scene, and the attempted murder of her daughter, who was airlifted to a hospital.
Surveillance footage showed a man in a black hoodie exit a vehicle and approach the pair as they reached the Coral Bay Cove apartments. He then opened fire. It apparently didn't take much digging for detectives to point the finger at Martinez. In 2018, she was charged with battery after officers say they saw her punch Jones in the face. While testifying in that case, Jones was again punched during a robbery outside a courthouse, with Martinez's then-boyfriend Kelly Nelson subsequently charged, police said. In jail phone calls, Martinez allegedly told Nelson that Jones had to "die" and she was "ready to go kill this ho." In the weeks before her death, police said Jones had spoke of harassment and attempted bribes meant to keep her from testifying in the robbery case. (Read more murder stories.)