Supervisor William Martin Found Dead of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

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Shocking news out of Gulfport Thursday: Harrison County Supervisor, William Martin, was found dead in his home shortly after he failed to appear in federal court. It’s a quiet scene outside Supervisor Martin’s home in Gulfport, but just a few hours ago, the street was packed with family, neighbors, and law enforcement officials.

Martin was set to appear in federal court Thursday morning at 11 a.m., facing two counts of bribery and one count of obstruction of justice. His lawyer says Martin planned to plead not guilty, but as minutes ticked away and he still wasn’t present, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Less than one hour after Martin failed to appear in court, he was found here dead in his home with a gunshot wound to the head. Gary Hargrove, Harrison County Coroner, says, "Made entry into the residence, found Supervisor Martin in the house by himself deceased. Supervisor Martin has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound."

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Hargrove says a note was found next to Martin’s body, but because the investigation is still ongoing, he was unable to tell News 25 what the note says. Martin, a lawyer and former prosecutor, has served as District 4’s Supervisor since 1999. Hargrove also says, "When he became Supervisor, he worked with my office very close in helping me gain the materials needed to move this office forward. He was a very forward thinking person."

According to indictment filed in federal court, one count of Martin’s bribery charge covers a time period from 2005 through 2012. The second covers September through October 2014. The obstruction of justice stems from attempting to influence a witness subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in 2014.

Martin’s indictment would have been the second in just three months for the Harrison County Board of Supervisors. Back in December, Kim Savant pleaded guilty to bribery charges in an unrelated case.