UPDATE (4/17/20, 7:30 p.m. ET): Kim Kardashian can celebrate — Alexis Martin is being released from prison! Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made the announcement on Friday, April 17, revealing that the 22-year-old and six other inmates will be granted commutations (reduced punishments) as Ohio prisons fight against the coronavirus pandemic. “Alexis Martin was 15 years old when she committed her crime and 17 when she went to prison. She is a child sex trafficking survivor. She will be sent to a group home and will be under supervision for a period of time,” the governor said in a news conference, per NBC4i.
Kim swiftly reacted to the news on Twitter. “Alexis Martin is a sex traffic survivor and I was honored to be able to share her story on the Justice Project. Thank you Governor DeWine for commuting her sentence,” the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star wrote that Friday afternoon.
ORIGINAL: Her case moved Kim Kardashian so much that the mom-of-four went behind bars to interview her. Alexis Martin – a former teenage sex trafficking victim – is one of the prisoners who is featured in the reality TV star’s new documentary, Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project. The two-hour special, which premieres on Oxygen on April 5 at 7pm, follows Kim as she dives into the cases of four people – Alexis, Dawn Jackson, Momolu Stewart and David Sheppard. Alexis’ case is particularly heartbreaking.
The 22-year-old is serving a life sentence at the Ohio Reformatory for Women for a crime prosecutors say she committed at the age of 15. Alexis was convicted after her pimp was murdered during a robbery. “There are a lot of people that are making bad decisions after they’ve experienced a lifetime of trauma,” Kim says in the documentary. “And I’ve received so many letters of situations and cases where people have been sex abused and sex trafficked and, when I heard of Alexis Martin’s case, it just sounded way too familiar.” Here’s what you need to know about Alexis:
1. Alexis says the murder victim, Angelo Kerney, sex trafficked her from the age of 14. “He raped me and he told me that I wasn’t worthy of anything besides my body,” she tells Kim in The Justice Project. “He told me that nobody would ever love me… I held no value but my body.”
Alexis Martin is a sex traffic survivor and I was honored to be able to share her story on the Justice Project. Thank you Governor DeWine for commuting her sentence. 🙏🏼 @GovMikeDeWine
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) April 17, 2020
2. Before she was a sex trafficking victim, Alexis says she was raped and sexually molested as a child. Her childhood was marred by instability. “Martin faced significant obstacles before she committed the offenses in this case,” the 2018 appeal filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio on her behalf read. “Her parents were often absent from her life. Both her parents and her stepfather were involved with drugs, and her mother was imprisoned for drug trafficking.”
3. Angelo was killed on Nov. 7, 2013 during the course of a robbery that Alexis helped to plan. The attack took place at his home. She was in another room having sex with his brother, Alecio Samuel, when two men, Travaski Jackson and Deshaun Spear entered the house, ransacked it and shot Angelo to death, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
4. Although she was a minor at the time of the crime, Alexis’ case was transferred to the adult court. She pled guilty to one count of aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.
5. Alexis’ legal team are working to try to get her clemency. They argue that – because she was a teen sex trafficking victim – she should have benefited from Ohio’s Safe Harbor Law, which allows juveniles to enroll in health and trauma education rather than face prison. “Alexis should not have been caged at all,” her attorney Sasha Naiman told the Cincinnati Enquirer in January 2019. “She should have received services. She was a baby. She was 15-years-old, and every single day that Alexis is incarcerated is a mistake.”