Wyoming guard Luke Martinez charged, suspended in bar fight

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Luke Martinez has become a story tarnishing the feel-good season that Wyoming's had so far. (Getty Images)

Wyoming is getting some not-needed pub regarding one of its best players. All this amid a 14-1 season, the best campaign for the Pokes in years.

Senior Luke Martinez has not played for Larry Shyatt's Cowboys in their past three games. The initial reason was due to a broken hand -- a hand that was allegedly broken in a bar fight, according to a published report. And on Monday, Shyatt officially and indefinitely suspended Martinez for allegations over his role in an altercation that took place on Dec. 30.

Nearly two weeks after the incident is alleged to have occurred, Martinez was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and assault on Sunday, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. And now we're finding out more of what happened on the night of Dec. 30 in Laramie, Wyo.

Martinez allegedly wasn't the only Pokes player at the scene of the fight; teammates Derek Cooke Jr. and Nathan Sobey were reportedly there as well, though neither are facing any charges at this time.

Martinez appeared in a Laramie court on Tuesday morning where signature bond was set at $25,000. He faces one felony charge of aggravated battery and assault according to the Star-Tribune.

The Star-Tribune's Ben Frederickson with more.

A witness told police that Cooke hit the victim with his fist and then Martinez kicked the victim in the head "like it was a football." A second witness, also according to the affidavit, said Martinez, who broke his hand in the altercation and hasn't played since, took "a running start" and kicked the unconscious victim in the head. The victim, the witness said, was "laying down in the street."

The victim's brother told officials the victim suffered "multiple fractures of the lower mandible" as a result of the fight and had to have his jaw wired shut.

Another witness told officials the victim tried to punch Martinez and missed, and Cooke punched the victim in the temple to protect Martinez. The same witness said the victim was knocked out by Cooke's punch, but Martinez then ran and kicked him in the head about 15-20 seconds later. Martinez was about 15 feet from the man before kicking him.

Martinez told police the victim punched him in the left side of the head and that it was possible Cooke's punch knocked him out. He told them he possibly "stepped" on the victim's head; he later said he might have "stomped" on his head.

Police say Martinez then admitted he kicked the victim in the head when he was on the ground and could not defend himself.

Despite Cooke's alleged involvement in the fight, police have stated Martinez will be the only one facing charges. After the initial investigation on Dec. 30, Martinez was not arrested or charged. The police report shows Martinez even stayed at the bar and answered officers' questions late into the night.

The case now has to play out and play out publicly. Shyatt hasn't indicated how long Martinez will be forced to sit out. The Wyoming senior was ordered by the judge to consult with Wyoming athletic officials three times per week going forward. The school says it will have no further comment on this incident.

"Aggravated assault is a felony punishable by up to 10 years" in the state of Wyoming, per the Star-Tribune's report. Martinez could also face fines in wake of the arrest.

Martinez is a two-year starter for the Cowboys and is the second leading scorer this year at 14.5 points per game.

Martinez's preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 28.


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