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Boy Killed While Defending His Sister from Sexual Assault

Martin Cobb

Martin Cobb

By Joey Matthews

Eight-year-old Martin Cobb and his 12-year-old sister had a special bond. They were by all accounts inseparable as siblings, best friends and playmates.

“They were never apart,” said the Rev. Theodore L. Hughey, the pastor at Abundant Life Church of God in Christ, the family’s church. They would ride bikes and big wheelers together, play side by side with children in their South Side neighborhood and brag about their mother’s fine down-home cooking, he told the Free Press.

Marty had a special affinity for keys of any type, the pastor added. In a tragic event that has captured the nation’s heart, Marty now is being fondly remembered as a courageous hero. Local and national media are telling the heart-rending story of how Marty died May 1, while bravely trying to protect his beloved sister from a sexual predator as they played around noon near railroad tracks behind the family’s home in the 200 block of Brandon Road.

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with Marty’s murder and the attack on his sister, who survived. She is recovering at a local hospital.

Marty died from severe head trauma, police later reported. Neighbors reported the attacker struck Marty in the head with a brick. A few days following his death, about 200 family members, friends, neighbors and other community members somberly gathered outside Abundant Life to honor the endearing child with the small frame, indomitable spirit and warm, loving smile.

Prior to the vigil, loved ones assembled around a sign in Marty’s yard that read: “Martin: A real hero lived, fought and died here.”

Authorities have declined to identify the suspect because he’s a minor.

Prosecutor Mary Langer stated in response to a Free Press query that she and Chris Bullard of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office are trying the case. She said the 16 year-old suspect will be tried as an adult for first degree murder, but will not face the death penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the execution of juveniles violates the Constitution.

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