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Woman gets prison for threats

by Seth Hemmelgarn

Pearly Martin. Photo: Courtesy SFPD
Pearly Martin. Photo: Courtesy SFPD  

A bisexual San Francisco woman who was convicted of making criminal threats outside a gay bar in 2016 is expected to serve more than six years in state prison after her sentencing this week.

Pearly Martin, 30, had been accused of yelling "faggots" and threatening several gay men with a knife, among other charges.

In April, jurors hung on hate crime enhancements but convicted Martin of five counts of making criminal threats, which came with enhancements for using a knife, as well as a count of residential burglary. She was also convicted of a misdemeanor vandalism charge that stemmed from her kicking out the window of a police car, but she was acquitted of false imprisonment charges.

The case resulted from an April 25, 2016 incident outside Club OMG, a gay bar in the South of Market neighborhood. 

Monday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Sharon Reardon sentenced Martin to a total of nine years in state prison, but Martin, who's been in jail since her arrest shortly after the incident, is likely to serve about six and a half years because of the time she's already spent in custody and other credits.

Although jurors hadn't agreed on the hate crime enhancements, Reardon said at Martin's sentencing Monday that since "the victims were vulnerable," she considered that an aggravating factor in how much time to give Martin.

Reardon also said that Martin had "engaged in violent conduct" indicating she was a danger to society, her past crimes had been "numerous" and had increased in severity, and her previous performance on probation had been "unsatisfactory."

Court records show that Martin had previously been accused of physical attacks, drug sales, and robbery.

"Good luck," Reardon told Martin. "Hopefully this is a learning experience for you."

She said that Martin had "a lot of potential," and she hoped that Martin could eventually be "a productive member of society."

Martin's reaction to the sentence couldn't be seen as she faced Reardon, but after the judge announced how much time she'd be serving, Martin's mother, who was in the gallery, stood up, called Reardon a "stupid bitch," and walked out of the courtroom. Reardon either didn't notice the comment or ignored it.

Another woman who was in court to support Martin complained about "fucking faggots" as she left the courtroom.

Afterward, Assistant District Attorney Ben Mains said, "This was a very good sentence for us." Mains pointed to how Martin's defense had sought to minimize her actions.

Private defense attorney John Kaman told jurors during his closing argument earlier this year that Martin's use of the word "faggot" during the incident "doesn't mean she hates faggots. ... It's just an insult. We should all be familiar with generic insults these days."

Mains had responded, "Saying 'faggot' is not just something she throws around. ... She knows exactly what that means."


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