On the evening of January 28th, 2013, the Asheboro police department received a phone call from a man who said he had found his girlfriend dead in their home on Cherokee Street.
When the dispatcher asked the man to describe the scene he replied: “There’s a hole in her neck.” He stated that his name was Roger Lee Martin and that he was 31 years old. Martin was instructed to stay on the line and wait and was informed that officers had already been dispatched and would be arriving soon.
“Who would want to kill her?” He pleaded down the receiver.
When police arrived at the scene they found Roger Martin cradling the body of his dead girlfriend, Nova Robinson, in his arms. A dark pool of blood had pumped from the wounds in her neck and had extended out into a large puddle around them as they sat slumped on the kitchen floor. She was completely unresponsive and it was obvious that she had been left to bleed to death from what appeared to be multiple stab injuries. She had been stabbed with such force that part of her vertebrae had been fractured as a result of the impact. Unsurprisingly, Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene. There was blood everywhere; so much blood that one could not help but feel as though it was an intensely personal and violently intimate attack.
The victim had not been sexually assaulted, nor had any items of value, or any in general for that matter, been taken from the residence. Strangely, there was no sign of forced entry indicating that whoever had murdered Nova, or "Nikki", as she was known to friends and family, had either been let into the home or already had access to it. She was found near the back entrance of the house with her blood smeared across the backdoor which had been left slightly ajar, suggesting the killer had made a swift exit after the deed was done.
Robinson's killer had made sure she would not survive the attack. He also left with the murder weapon in hand, which police later identified to be a knife.
An autopsy would confirm that she had indeed been stabbed to death. The official cause of death was listed as exsanguination, which was a shock to nobody. Multiple knife wounds to her chest and neck were noted on the official report and defensive wounds to her hands showed that she attempted to shield herself from the attackers blade. After stabbing at the 31 year old woman with what can only be described as pure frenzy, the assailant fled from the scene, leaving Nikki’s body to be discovered by her boyfriend. Nikki had two daughters who were luckily spared of the horror of seeing their mothers corpse.
When police questioned Martin about his whereabouts at the time of the slaying he informed them that it must have happened sometime during the three hour window in which he had left the home- between 3pm and 6pm. He was on the other side of town, he said. Detectives were unhappy with the questions that he left unanswered, but there was no proof that he had any involvement in the murder of his long-term girlfriend at this point in the investigation.
The question of “who would want to kill Nikki?” remained unanswered.
Nova Robinson had no known local enemies. She was well liked by her peers at Randolph Community College where she was studying to become a registered nurse as well as by her colleagues at Randolph Hospital where she was a volunteer. The murder of the “Sweet and caring” honor student sent shock waves through the city of Asheboro and the residents lived in fear that a killer was targeting lone women in their homes at random.
For the next six years the case sat unsolved. It passed through the hands of many detectives and there were no updates until April of this year, when the Asheboro police released a statement pointing to Nikki’s boyfriend as the main suspect.
They informed the public that thanks to advances in DNA technology they were able to prove that now 41 year old Roger Lee Martin was responsible for the murder of his own partner six years ago in 2013.
"We are completely satisfied without question that Roger Martin killed his then girlfriend Nova “Nikki” Robinson” they said.
To those who kept tabs on the unsolved case and followed the story in the media, the news of Martins arrest was not at all shocking. “The husband did it” is a line often echoed around the online world when the news of a husband or boyfriend discovering their slain spouse hits the headlines. For those looking at the case for the first time, it seems obvious just looking into the tired eyes of the man in the mug shot that he’s been hiding a horrific secret for almost half a decade. His failure to mentally come back from inflicting such violence upon his own partner shows in his face. He was likely shocked that he got away with the crime for as long as he did. Advances in DNA testing have aided investigators in solving infamous cold cases, including the long unsolved crimes of the Golden gate rapist, or “EAR/ONS” as he is commonly referred to online. Martin had likely felt the breath of justice hot on the back of his neck for several years now, it was only a matter of time and technology before he was captured and he probably knew it.
He was arrested last month at his home on 958 Louya Road in Lexington and charged with murder of Nova Robinson.
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