Franklin women testify about being held hostage

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, February 1, 2011


FRANKLIN—Two Franklin women testified Monday about being held hostage by gang members and receiving death threats at their North College Drive apartment on Nov. 2 and 3.

Testimony from apparent victims Maryanne Reed and Amber Martin in Franklin General District Court was enough for Judge Parker Councill to continue murder-for-hire charges against a Virginia Beach man.

The case against David Olonzo-Marcus Powell, 23, and alleged co-conspirator Luis Manuel Nunez, 28, also of Virginia Beach, will go to a grand jury in Southampton County Circuit Court. A preliminary hearing for Nunez took place Jan. 24.

Police have said both suspects are associated with the Latin Kings and the Nine-Trey Gangster Bloods.

Reed and Martin gave emotional testimony about what happened to them in Martin’s apartment.

Reed told the judge that Nunez, to whom she referred as “Manny,” went with them to a club in Virginia Beach that evening. Martin and Nunez got into an argument.

“She (Martin) wanted to break up with him,” said Reed. “They were already going through some things.”

Nunez left the club between 9 and 10 p.m. The two women got home between 1 and 2 a.m.

Reed said she entered the apartment first, and as soon as Martin closed the door, Nunez and two other people inside attacked them. Reed identified Powell as one of the attackers. Reed then testified that she ran to the bathroom, but Nunez got her out.

He screamed at the women, threatened to “blow their brains out,” and had them tied up, blindfolded, gagged and laid down on the floor, Reed testified. She said he told them he had paid the other men to kill the women.

At one point, Reed said a knife was put to her throat. She testified that one of the suspects told her, “I can’t wait to kill you.”

Reed testified how she begged Nunez: “Don’t do this. You’re like a brother.”

He ordered the women to be searched. Money and identifications were taken along with cell phones. Clothes, shoes and electronics were among items stolen from Reed and Martin that night.

Reed said Nunez asked for more money, but she countered, “How much? We don’t have any money.”

Two stacks of $1,000 each were demanded at one point.

Reed said Nunez also threatened the women’s families.

Later, blindfolds were removed and the victims were able to move a little easier. During the night, Reed explained to Nunez that she had to appear in a Richmond court that morning. The alleged co-conspirator Powell and another unidentified male suspect left around 7 a.m.; Reed and Nunez left Martin at the apartment when they went to Richmond.

In Richmond, the threat against the families is what kept Reed from contacting a bailiff. She also texted her roommate not to go to the police.

Martin affirmed much of Reed’s testimony, such as the demand for $2,000 and the death threats.

Martin testified that Nunez said, “‘I hired these men to kill you.’” Nunez asked her at one point, “Do you think I’m a joke?”

While Reed and Nunez were in Richmond, Martin said she called her father. He advised calling police.

When Reed and Nunez returned to Franklin, police were waiting for them.

Nunez and Powell were charged with burglary, robbery, two counts of murder-for-hire and two counts of abduction. Nunez also had a charge of possession of a firearm by a violent felon and four counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Powell faces a charge of a use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Desiree Elizabeth Brady of Virginia Beach was arrested Nov. 16 as a co-conspirator in the plot. Her case will not be prosecuted in Franklin.