It’s hard for most people to believe that a boxer known for knocking out 32 of 49 opponents could be the victim of domestic violence, but that is what Christy Salters-Martin lived to tell a jury and “48 Hours” contributor David Begnaud. Her husband tried to kill her, she says, but she refused to die. “I told him, ‘You cannot kill me,’ and I meant it. Just like the sun came up this morning, I meant it.”
” is reported by Begnaud in an all-new “48 Hours” airing Saturday, November 14 at 10/9c on CBS.
Christy Salters-Martin says she is an advocate for women in abusive relationships because of what she survived. On November 23, 2010, after 19 years of marriage, Christy says she was sitting on her bed putting on her running shoes when her husband, Jim Martin, entered the bedroom armed with a knife and gun.
About an hour later, Christy managed to flag down a stranger on her street in Apopka, Florida, who rushed her to a nearby emergency room. Christy had been stabbed four times in the chest, her left lung was punctured, her left leg was cut to the bone, and there was a bullet lodged three inches from her heart.
She says she was able to get up off the floor and escape when Jim decided to take a shower. “I would love to see the look on his face when he got out of the shower, came back to the room and I was gone.”
While doctors worked to save Christy’s life, Jim Martin disappeared. Police found him seven days later not far from the crime scene. Martin, who still had the knife used to stab Christy, declared himself innocent. He said he was the victim of a vicious attack by his wife and ran in fear to a neighbor’s shed, where he says he slipped in and out of consciousness until just before police dogs found him.
In his first television interview, Martin’s defense attorney Bill Hancock tells Begnaud that his client was a loving and devoted husband who would never have attacked his wife. “There is not convincing evidence in this case, beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Martin intended to kill Christy,” he says.
Orange County prosecutors Ryan Vescio and Deborah Barra disagree. They believe Jim was the heavyweight in the marriage and that he turned a champion boxer into an abused wife. Vescio describes Martin as manipulative, cruel and controlling: “Jim’s control and abuse led to psychological abuse, physical abuse. … He started to provide her with controlled substances and … put Christy in a very compromised position to where she had to rely on Jim or else her career would be over.”
Christy Salters met Jim Martin when she was just 22 and he was 47. She was a rarity — a promising female boxer. He was a well-regarded coach and, while Martin didn’t believe that women belonged in the boxing ring, he agreed to train the young phenom. Christy says Jim saw dollar signs. “He thought … ‘It’ll be a sideshow, but I think I can get her in a position where we can make some money,'” she tells Begnaud.
As the two grew closer, the relationship turned romantic. A year later, they were married, but according to Christy, it was more business partnership than love story. She also says it was a way to finally please her parents, who had spent years trying to turn her into someone she is not.
Christy was in the fifth or sixth grade when she says she realized she was a lesbian. “Did you confide in anyone?” asks Begnaud. “No,” says Christy, not until she met high school sweetheart Sherry Lusk. Christy tried to keep her dating life a secret, but her parents eventually found out and their…