Sentences handed down following 2019 fatal shooting, lengthy investigation

Published 12:38 am Saturday, August 5, 2023

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A Port Arthur man and a Baytown man have each been sentenced to 20 years in prison in the 2019 shooting death of Joel Lopez Martinez.

Jaylen Lott, 30, of Port Arthur and Rakeem Roache, 28, of Baytown pleaded guilty to the killing in June and were sentenced this week by Criminal District Judge John Stevens.

An employee of the court confirmed the 20-year sentences to Port Arthur Newsmedia.

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Lott and Roache were indicted for murder in 2020.

Police contend Lott and Roache approached Martinez at approximately 1:15 a.m. July 19, 2019, at a home in the 3200 block of 18th Street and demanded money.

A struggle ensued between the two suspects and Martinez that resulted in Lott and Roache firing shots at the victim. Martinez, 42, was brought to a local hospital, where he died, according to earlier information released from the Port Arthur Police Department.

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

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

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

In addition, the document states 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, 2020, Lott was arrested in Port Arthur for murder and taken into custody without incident.

Port Arthur Police investigators with the narcotics and gun unit tracked Roache to Baytown. With the assistance of Baytown police, Roache was also taken into custody without incident.