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TMCNet:  Man gets life sentence for '06 murder of federal informant

[November 16, 2012]

Man gets life sentence for '06 murder of federal informant

Nov 16, 2012 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A Chicago man was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted of the murder of a federal informant, prosecutors said today.

Spencer Martin, 35, had been convicted by a jury last month of the killing of Earl Willis, who had been serving as a federal informant, Cook County State's Atty. Anita Alvarez said in a press release.

Martin was sentenced on Thursday during a court hearing at the George Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, officials said.

Willis' body was found on May 12, 2006 in his vehicle near 72nd Street and Indiana Avenue. He had last been seen on February 4, 2006 and was reported missing two days later.

When his body was found, officials determined that he had sustained multiple gunshot wounds, officials said.

Officials determined that Willis had been shot by the same gun as two earlier shootings that had also been committed by Martin, prosecutors said.

The first shooting happened on Jan. 14, 2006 near 68th Street and Ashland Avenue and wounded two people who did not know Martin, according to prosecutors.

Firearms evidence collected from that scene was later matched to the same gun which Martin used in a shooting on Feb. 4, 2006. That shooting happened at a gas station in the 700 block of West Lawrence Avenue and was captured on videotape. Willis was driving his van and was with Martin, prosecutors said. A video showed Martin getting out of the van and trying to rob then shooting a victim, prosecutors said.

Martin and Willis then fled the area in the van and the victim, who survived later identified both Martin and Willis from photos, proseuctors said.

According to prosecutors this was the last time Willis was seen alive. Firearm evidence from the gas station linked the gun used in that shooting to the January shooting near 68th Street and Ashland Avenue, officials said. The victims of that shooting picked out Martin as the triggerman, officials said.

Willis' body was later found in his van on the 7200 block of South Indiana Avenue, officials said. Firearms evidence linked Wills' fatal shooting to the previous shootings. Investigators also found an open bottle of liquor which had Martin's DNA in a pocket of a coat used to cover Willis' remains, prosecutors said.

On Thursday Cook County Judge Steven Goebel sentenced Martin to natural life plus 60 years in prison.

Martin had previously been convicted of attempted murder and armed robbery and received 24 years in prison for the shooting on the 700 block of West Lawrence. He also had been convicted and sentenced to 110 years in prison for the shootings near 68th and Ashland, officials said.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking ___ (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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