Country music artist and reality TV host Daniel Lee Martin may have been publicly known for his career within the entertainment industry, but dark secrets about his private life started getting exposed several years ago. Martin was scheduled to stand trial in March for multiple charges involving sexual abuse of minors, but when authorities recently attempted to serve him warrants, he was found dead inside his residence. Martin was 54 years old.
Pasco County Sheriff Dept. deputies went to former Sportsman Channel host Daniel Lee Martin's home in New Port Richey, Florida on Friday, February 14, armed with warrants for a variety of criminal charges involving sexual acts with children. Those charges included three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, three counts of aggravated sexual battery, three counts of soliciting to commit aggravated sexual battery, and two counts of indecent exposure and solicitation to commit rape on a child. The events tied to those charges, all involving children under the age of 13, allegedly occurred in Tennessee between May 2014 and January 2018.
Daniel Lee Martin was indicted by a grand jury in 2018 for those crimes, and turned himself into police a month later. He was arrested again in January 2020 (discussed below) and was scheduled for a hearing on Friday morning to discuss his pre-trial release getting revoked due to the more recent legal troubles. After he failed to show up for the hearing, Tennessee authorities worked up a new warrant for Pasco County police to pick him up.
However, when authorities arrived at the New Port Richey home, there was no response. Only after a SWAT team entered his house was Daniel Lee Martin's body found, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound as the presumed cause of death.
According to the report from Daniel Lee Martin's January 27 arrest, he was charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition and prohibition of certain acts in connection with obscenity. It's alleged that Martin had a young girl staying at his house for several nights in November 2019, and the girl told detectives that during her stay, Martin showed her pornographic movies as he sat next to and fondled his genitals. According to the Tampa Bay Times, he was released three hours after his arrest on a $1,500 bond.
Born in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1965, Daniel Lee Martin had achieved a modicum of fame across radio and TV prior to and during the span of his Tennessean crimes. Martin dabbled in sports and public relations coming out of high school, but after performing at a music festival in 1996, he moved to Nashville to break out in the country music scene. While those dreams were never fully realized after his initial record deal went nowhere, Martin did release two albums in 2003 and 2007, and served as the opening act for several country legends over the years.
On the TV side of things, Daniel Lee Martin hosted a pair of TV shows on the Sportsman Channel that spoke to his love of being an outdoorsman and an entertainer, Brotherhood Outdoors and Backstage and Backroads with Daniel Lee Martin. Years later, after he married Julie McQueen, the couple served as the subject of the CarbonTV reality series Till Death Do Us Part, which aired in 2017. After Martin's arrest went public in 2018, however, Queen filed for divorce.
We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and alleged victims of Daniel Lee Martin during this troubling time.