Charges filed in acid attack on judge

by: Richard Thompson Updated:

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THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. —

Thirty-three-year-old Michael Martin is now charged with assault and malicious mischief for throwing acid in a judge's face in September 2012. 

Thurston County prosecutors say Martin was angry with the victim, Thurston County District Court Judge Brett Buckley, because Buckley had ruled against Martin in several protection-order cases involving an ex-girlfriend.  

Thurston County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Toynbee told KIRO 7 that Martin spent months planning the attack, keeping notes on his iPhone. 

"He was looking for battery acid, he was looking for the judge's home address, he put down that he reconned the judge's address again," Toynbee said. 

Charging documents filed in the case provide even more detail of Martin's planning lists, which included:

  • "Find out where Judge Brett Buckley lives"
  • "Get Water bottles ready for battery acid"
  • "Recon judge home again (nobody home :("
  • "Call Lowe's for battery acid (no go)"
  • "Go 2 NAPA 4 battery acid"

Prosecutors said Martin eventually purchased battery acid at a NAPA auto parts store in Tumwater. On Sept.  10th, 2012, they said Martin put his plan in motion, knocking on the door of the judge's home and throwing the battery acid in his face when he answered the door. 

Olympia police got a big break in the case when FBI agents searched Martin's Tumwater apartment. It turns out Martin,  a former JBLM soldier, was being investigated for threatening a military prosecutor. During the search of his apartment, FBI agents found battery acid and alerted Olympia detectives.

The Olympia detectives conducted additional research and discovered Judge Buckley had ruled against Martin on several occasions. The detectives obtained search warrants for Martin's phone and computers and discovered his lists detailing plans for the attack.   Toynbee also tells KIRO 7 that detectives discovered a disturbing Internet post by Martin. 

"He had made a Facebook posting that referred to melting people's faces off," said Toynbee. 

Martin was given an "other than honorable" discharge from the U.S. Army and is currently in federal custody awaiting an August sentencing in the case involving the threat to the military prosecutor.  Martin will then be transferred to the Thurston County jail to face the new charges involving the acid attack.

Buckley expressed his thanks to both police and prosecutors for their exhaustive efforts on the case. 

"Their work has really made my family feel much safer," said Buckley. 

When the attack happened, the judge took quick action to rinse off all the acid and only suffered minor injuries. He told KIRO 7 he and his family have moved forward.  

"I'm okay, my family is okay. There clearly was a period of time when there was a fair degree of anxiety about what happened, but time obviously heals things,” Buckley said.