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Visalia Man Convicted of Attempted Murder in Arson at Former Girlfriend’s House



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Mark Martin, 37, tried to burn down the home of his former girlfriend and their children with them in it on Super Bowl Sunday 2021. (Shutterstock)
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After considering a mountain of evidence against a 37-year-old Visalia man, a jury convicted him on four counts of attempted murder and other charges last week.

Mark Martin faces life in prison for setting a fire in the garage at the home of a former girlfriend with whom he had two children on the evening of Feb. 7, 2021.

According to evidence presented at trial, Martin’s former girlfriend, their children, and her new boyfriend were in the house when Martin used gasoline to start a fire near the water heater.

Fortunately, the occupants all escaped the home without injury.

The Case Against Martin

Initially, authorities suspected that a faulty water heater caused the fire. However, further investigation led the authorities to Martin, a convicted felon. Officers arrested Martin two days later.

Mark Martin booking photo

A jury convicted Mark Martin 37, on four counts of attempted murder on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. (Tulare County booking photo)

According to a news release from the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, video obtained from neighbors showed Martin riding a bicycle to and from the residence about the time of the fire.

Martin threatened and harassed his former girlfriend before the fire on social media and via phone messages. The voicemails included wishing that she would “die a slow death” and “burn to death.” Investigators also learned that Martin bragged about setting the fire shortly afterward.

Martin’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 3.

Tulare County deputy DA Christian Park prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Visalia Police Department.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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