The Rome Police Department has released the names of those involved in the murder/suicide on Whittier Avenue Saturday evening.
Police said Robert V. Martin, age 61, shot his ex-girlfriend, Kathy Wright, age 40, at the home they shared at 107 Whittier Ave. Police said Martin then shot and killed Wright’s brother, 43-year-old Daniel L. Casey, before shooting himself in the head.
According to family of the victims, Casey had traveled to Rome the day before to help his sister with ongoing domestic problems with Martin.
The shooting remains under investigation. The 12-gauge shotgun used in the shootings has been recovered.
Kathy Wright “is still in the hospital. She’s stable and she’s expected to survive,” said Rome Police spokesperson Det. Sharon Rood.
“She wanted him to move out,” Rood explained. Wright owned the property and had been living with Martin and Martin’s son for several years, according to family members.
“I don’t think they had begun the process,” Rood said. “I think that was part of the issue that day, that she wanted them to move out.”
According to Rood, Wright contacted police at 4:30 p.m. Saturday to lodge a domestic complaint against Martin. Rood said Wright complained of ongoing “annoyances” from Martin, but did not want the police to take action against him. Wright met with patrol officers in a public parking lot to make the complaint.
“There was nothing criminal. She wanted documentation for Family Court,” Rood stated. “She didn’t want it addressed. She knew it wasn’t criminal.”
Following that meeting with police, authorities said Wright returned home. Police said an argument ensued and the shooting occurred at about 6 p.m.
“It was a murder/suicide and attempted murder,” Det. Rood explained.
“An argument ensued. He shot her, the brother and then himself.”
According to police, Casey was outside the residence and Wright was in a back room. Police said there were at least four other people in the home at the time, including Martin’s 4-year-old grandson, who was upstairs.
At some point during the argument, police said Martin left the room and retrieved his 12-gauge shotgun from elsewhere in the residence. Police said Martin returned to the back room and shot Wright in the abdomen. Police said Martin then shot Casey, who was still outside, then shot himself in the head.
Wright’s ex-husband, Glenroy Wright, said he was on the telephone with Kathy Wright when the shooting occurred. Glenroy Wright said that Kathy was calm and “didn’t seem upset or aggravated.” He said they were talking about ordering dinner and coming to see Glenroy and their son.
“We were talking for five or six minutes, then all of a sudden, Mr. Martin came into the room that she was in and she kept telling him to get out,” Glenroy Wright said about what he heard over the telephone.
“And then, all of a sudden, she started yelling that he had a gun, then that he was pointing the gun at her. Then I heard the cocking mechanism and then I heard the shot.” Glenroy said he could hear his ex-wife screaming over the phone.
Police said multiple people in the area called 9-1-1 to report the shots fired.
“When patrol arrived, they staged outside the residence and patrol actually heard one gunshot,” said Det. Rood. That is believed to be the shot that killed Martin.
“They were able to make contact with the female inside the residence who told them that her live-in, former boyfriend had shot her and himself.”
Rood said that Kathy Wright was able to describe where she was in the home, as well as the weapon. “The officers were able to enter the residence and extract her safely.”
Wright was rushed to a local hospital. Daniel Casey’s body was recovered from the driveway. Robert Martin’s body was found inside the home.
Brother wanted to help
According to family members of the two victims, Daniel Casey had traveled from his home in Wisconsin to help his sister with her ongoing domestic problems with Martin. Family and police said Casey arrived in Rome on Friday with one of his sons.
“My brother traveled here to help my sister in a very bad situation,” said sister Charity Casey.
“The fact of the matter is, she didn’t come to file the police report and try to get the order of protection for no reason.”
Family members said the relationship between Martin and Wright had been over for months, and they remained living together in the home that Wright owned. Both Glenroy Wright and other family members described ongoing harassment from Martin. Glenroy said he made multiple complaints to law enforcement and felt that police were “brushing over” his complaints in the past.
Det. Rood said Rome Police are still looking into whether or not there were previous domestic complaints involving Martin and Wright. Rood said they are also investigating Wright’s ownership of the shotgun. Martin was convicted of a felony in 1992, according to state records.
“He refused to leave the home. She did have to formally evict him because of it,” said Charity Casey. According to family, the eviction process was started in early April, but the coronavirus put the eviction window at 90 days. According to family, law enforcement told the woman that they could not force Martin out of the residence.
“She was a prisoner in her own home every single day,” said one person close to the Casey family. “She didn’t feel safe going to the police.
Family said Wright stayed in her own room in her home and put a lock on the door. Family said there was a recent incident where someone broke into her room and rummaged through her drawers, and that Wright found a knife on her bed. This prompted her to notify family, and the decision was made that her brother would travel from Wisconsin to help her.
Family said Daniel Casey is a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army, who served two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. They said he came home with a Purple Heart. Family said he is survived by six children.
Jake V. Martin, the son of Robert Martin, said he believes his father was “pushed” into retaliating.
Jake Martin said he lived with his father and Wright for several years, and that Martin treated Wright “like gold” and was not abusive, even after the couple broke up several months ago. Jake Martin said Daniel Casey and his son started the argument on Saturday.
“They were taunting us, threatening us, insinuating that they had weapons,” Jake Martin said.
Deciding that they would move out Saturday night, Martin said he told his father to go upstairs and stay there, while he went out to rent a U-Haul to move out. Martin said he was only gone for about five minutes before he got a telephone call that there had been gunshots at his home.
“Obviously he did what he did, let’s face it. But he was pushed,” Martin said.
“As soon as I left the house, they must have said something else to him, or did something threatening, because he wouldn’t have made the first move. They must have done something threatening to him and that’s when he did what he did.”
Daniel Casey’s family has denied that he had a weapon or that he would have been the aggressor. Police have said that Casey did not have a weapon on him.
“I think there was some tension and there was arguing. There may be some things that were said that were less than pleasant,” said sister Charity Casey. She said she is taking care of Daniel Casey’s son, who witnessed the shooting.
Daniel Casey “obviously did not have a weapon,” Charity said. “If his words were harsh enough to incite this man to get a gun, that’s not how it works.” She said her brother knew about Martin’s shotgun but had been unable to find time to disarm it.
Charity Casey called the entire incident “heartbreaking” and said she knows that the Martin family is also suffering.
“I have empathy for that and I sympathize with what he’s going through. He’s in my prayers,” she said. “I recognize that not just one family experienced a tragedy. We all did.”