Port Arthur man indicted for the July ’19 murder of Joel Lopez Martinez

Published 12:12 am Thursday, June 25, 2020

A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Jaylen D. Lott for the July 2019 shooting death of Joel Lopez Martinez.

Lott, 27, of Port Arthur was arrested in April on a murder warrant.

The probable cause affidavit for the arrest of Lott said he and another man approached Martinez and a second victim at approximately 1:15 a.m. July 19 at a home in the 3200 block of 18th Street and demanded money.

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A struggle ensued between the two suspects and Martinez that resulted in Lott and a second suspect firing shots at the victim, police believe.

Martinez, 42, was brought to a local hospital, where he died, according to earlier information released from the Port Arthur Police Department.

The other man was injured during the altercation and suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Police were able to locate multiple items of evidence at the scene, none of which was released to media or the public, the affidavit stated.

During the course of the investigation, detectives learned the identity of the suspected gunmen and also learned Lott apparently shot himself while fleeing the scene, according to the warrant.

Nearby surveillance video that included sound was obtained. The cadence of the shots, the affidavit stated, was indicative of the fatal shooting.

In addition, a pistol found by a fence at the crime scene had a spent shell casing lodged in the slide/chamber, which follows along with the detectives’ beliefs that “handguns can malfunction when not being held properly or firmly.”

To further connect the evidence with the shooting and gun, detectives noted Lott walked with a limp indicative of an injury.

The case remained active after the shooting, but few developments were released publicly for the rest of 2019 other than the sighting of a possible suspect vehicle. It is unknown if the car was ever connected to the two men or the crime.

Then, on April 3, Lott was arrested in the city limits of Port Arthur for murder and taken into custody without incident.

He was taken to the Jefferson County Correctional Facility. Bond was set at $250,000. On April 16, he bonded out of jail, according to a jailer at the facility.

An indictment is not a final conviction of guilt; it is only a ruling by the grand jury that allows the district attorney’s office to proceed with a criminal case.