In an episode of 48 Hours, airing on Saturday, the 52-year-old boxing champion spoke about becoming an advocate for women in abusive relationships after surviving a brutal domestic attack herself.
According to Salters-Martin, her husband stabbed her four times in the chest and shot her in the bedroom of their Apopka, Florida, home on Nov. 23, 2010. She was able to make her escape after Martin had gone into the bathroom to take a shower.
Salters-Martin said she managed to get outside and flag a down a stranger, who rushed her to the hospital. There, doctors found she had a punctured lung and a bullet lodged three inches from her heart, according to the athlete.
“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,” she told 48 Hours.
Police arrested Martin a week after the attack when the received an anonymous tip that the man had been hiding in a neighbor’s shed, The Orlando Sentinel previously reported. At the time, he was hospitalized after he was discovered with a bloody knife and self-inflicted stab wounds, according to authorities.
Martin’s defense attorney Bill Hancock argued 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 told 48 Hours.
However, Orange County prosecutors Ryan Vescio and Deborah Barra believed that Martin was the aggressor in the relationship.
“Jim’s control and abuse led to psychological abuse, physical abuse,” Vescio said. “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.”
Salters-Martin met Martin when she was 22 and he was 47. The boxer, who identifies as a lesbian, said she only married him to gain the approval of her family who had previously shunned her for dating a woman.
“He would always say, ‘I’m gonna tell the world you’re a lesbian.’ And for whatever reason, you know, I just wasn’t strong enough in me to say, ‘Go ahead,’ ” Salters-Martin recalled. “I know that people think that I should be strong and tough and all those things. But … I didn’t have that same type of mental strength to overtake him.”
Salters-Martin said she had told Martin that she was leaving him for her high school sweetheart, Sherry Lusk, just days before the November attack.
“I think it’s a remarkable story because you have a world-famous champion boxer and she could still be in a domestic violence relationship,” prosecutor Barra told 48 Hours. “Because that isn’t about physical strength. It’s about mental abuse.”
Martin was found guilty of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm and aggravated battery in April 2012, according to the Associated Press.
Online jail records show that he’s currently serving a 35-year sentence at the Graceville Correctional Facility.
“I told him, ‘You cannot kill me,’ and I meant it,” Salters-Martin told 48 Hours. “Just like the sun came up this morning, I meant it.”