Violent rapist in Maryland allegedly murders ‘devoted’ parole officer

News & Politics

A man who spent decades in prison for a violent rape has now been accused of murdering the Maryland parole officer assigned to keep an eye on him following his release.

In October 1996, Emanuel Edward Sewell broke into a home in Montgomery County, Maryland, where a man was in bed sleeping. Sewell bound the man’s arms and legs and then viciously raped him at knifepoint. Sewell was eventually convicted of several charges related to sexual assault and burglary and sentenced to 40 years behind bars.

He was curled up in the fetal position and wrapped in plastic after sustaining a brutal physical assault, reports indicate.

Sewell ultimately served 24 years of that 40-year sentence. In 2021, he was paroled after claiming that his drug addiction had affected his brain and partially led him to commit the horrific crime.

After his release, Sewell was paired with parole and probation agent Davis Martinez with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Sewell also secured residence at an apartment in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

On May 31, Martinez drove over to the apartment to ensure that Sewell lived there. Several hours later, Martinez’s colleagues contacted police after he never returned.

Just before 6 p.m. that day, officers arrived at Sewell’s apartment. Inside, they found Martinez’s dead body stuffed underneath a bed. He was curled up in the fetal position and wrapped in plastic after sustaining a brutal physical assault, reports indicate.

Investigators also found a bloody towel near the front door and Martinez’s cellphone in a dumpster outside. His car was likewise still parked nearby.

Though officers were able to collect Martinez’s body and other pieces of evidence from Sewell’s apartment, the suspect was nowhere to be found. A neighbor claimed Sewell, now 54, had received a visitor around 9 a.m. and emerged from his apartment around 2 p.m. to deposit bags of clothes in the dumpster. She then saw Sewell drive away.

The following day, Sewell was arrested 400 miles away in West Virginia and initially charged with second-degree murder. That charge was later upgraded to first-degree murder. On Monday, a judge ordered him held without bond. Sewell is scheduled to appear in court again on July 5.

‘This was a violent attack on the agent who was doing the residence check.’

Martinez first joined the MDPS in August 2018 and is believed to be the only parole officer to be killed in the line of duty in the state’s history. He was just 33 years old at the time of his death.

His friends and coworkers are devastated by his loss and created a short video in his honor. In the video, agent Shanel Grey claimed she couldn’t settle on just “one word only to describe” Martinez — but she did try, characterizing him as “kind, respectful, courteous, devoted to his job, an extremely diligent team player, funny, [and] shy.”

Senior agent Wynitta Sanyeneh-Kesler called Martinez a “beautiful soul” and insisted he was “the glue” at the agency and for his family. “There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for any one of us,” she added through tears.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy argues that more must be done to protect parole and probation agents. “This was a violent attack on the agent who was doing [a] residence check,” he claimed.

“If they’re going out there doing work for us, we as a community have to work comprehensively to make sure that we see that they’re safe when they’re doing their job.”

The agency has since suspended all in-home parole and probation visits. Democrat Gov. Wes Moore ordered state flags to be lowered to half-mast on June 1 in Martinez’s honor.

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