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Bryana Salymar Martines
courtesy of Nathan Key, Legal Assistant for the District Attorney

Shelby Woman Sentenced to 20-to-25 Years for 2021 Murder in Hickory

25-year-old Bryana Salymar Martines of Shelby has been sentenced to an active prison term of 20-to-25 years after she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, handed down the sentence on March 25 in Catawba County Superior Court. Martines murdered 72-year-old Robert Bruce Godfrey on December 1, 2021. The defendant will serve her sentence in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.

Hickory Police responded to a Hickory apartment complex on December 4, 2021 after Mr. Godfrey’s son found him deceased at his residence. He had been emailing and texting his father for two days with no response and went to check on him. The apartment was in disarray and the victim’s vehicle was missing from the complex.

Martines and a male co-defendant were found in the vehicle when it was stopped in Camden, Georgia. She was identified as a person of interest in Mr. Godfrey’s death. On December 7, Investigators interviewed the male subject. He had been with Martines in Lancaster County, South Carolina where he was incarcerated. He and the defendant had been in a relationship for two months. The man told Investigators that Martines confided to him that she had murdered Godfrey by striking him on the head several times with a bottle. The autopsy report from Wake Forest Baptist Regional Medical Center revealed that Mr. Godfrey died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Martines was taken into custody and interviewed on December 8. She indicated that she and Mr. Godfrey had been involved in a relationship. When that relationship ended, she began seeing the co-defendant. The co-defendant is awaiting trial for his role in the case.

Shanna Hudson, formerly of Hickory Police Department, led the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Nancy Lee prosecuted the case with aid from Legal Assistant Amy Bishoff.