Dispute over gun led to retired boxer's death

Posted: July 26, 2013

Retired professional boxer Tony Martin said he was going to evict the third-floor tenant in his Hunting Park rooming house after finding a gun in the man's apartment.

That decision cost the 52-year-old light heavyweight his life.

Witnesses testified in a hearing Wednesday that Shaquille Henderson used a pistol stolen from his own aunt - a Philadelphia police officer - as the murder weapon.

Municipal Court Judge T. Francis Shields ordered Henderson, 21, to stand trial on murder and related charges in Martin's death.

Denise Rahman, a tenant in a second-floor room at Martin's house in the 1300 block of West Butler Street, testified at the preliminary hearing Wednesday that Martin stopped by to collect rents about 1:30 p.m. on March 8.

Martin told her he was going to evict Henderson because he had found him with a gun, she said. Martin went to Henderson's third-floor apartment, an argument ensued, and Martin left. Martin returned and went back upstairs to speak to Henderson, and Rahman heard gunshots. She ran to her window, she said, and saw Henderson pedaling away on a bicycle.

Assistant District Attorney Deborah Watson-Stokes said the autopsy showed the 6-foot, 200-pound Martin was shot nine times, and died of two shots to the head and one to the chest.

Martin came to Philadelphia from St. Louis in the 1980s to train as a boxer. He retired with a 34-6-1 record with 12 knockouts.

Henderson remained at large until April 26, when three police officers having coffee in the bookstore at Temple University spotted him waiting at a bus shelter on Cecil B. Moore Avenue west of Broad Street. They chased him down and arrested him.

Police Officer Michael O'Brien testified that a pistol recovered from Henderson was the police-issued weapon of Officer Fatima Henderson, reported stolen about six months earlier.

Watson-Stokes said tests showed the police-issued Glock fired all nine cartridge casings found around Martin's body.

Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, jslobodzian@phillynews.com, or @joeslobo on Twitter.

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