Evansville man appears in court after his mother reports trash bags of body parts

Earl Martin (Provided Photo/Vanderburgh County Detention Center)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A man accused of killing an Evansville woman and dismembering her body has made his first court appearance in the case.

A judge entered a not guilty plea on behalf of 38-year-old Earl Martin during Thursday’s initial hearing. He’s charged with murder and obstruction of justice in the December shooting death of 41-year-old Erica Bradfield.

Police found Bradfield’s body parts in trash bags on Dec. 22 behind Martin’s home after receiving a tip from his mother.

Martin’s mother, Donna Stephens, told 24-Hour News 8’s sister station WEHT she wasn’t surprised to see her son at the center of a murder investigation but was shocked by the circumstances of that investigation.

“After the stuff Monday night, I didn’t think it could get any worse, but it has. And it’s really worse because I did my part, I did a good deed, and then I’m being punished. I can’t get in my own house, I can’t get any clothes, you know it’s two days from Christmas, Christmas Eve…. And, its just… You know?” Stephens said on Dec. 22.

Court records show Vanderburgh County prosecutors plan to seek a life without parole sentenced if Martin is convicted. He’s being held without bond.

A message seeking comment was left Friday with Martin’s public defender.

Martin was also charged last week with murder and robbery in the December death of a 20-year-old man.