Terry Jon Martin, who pleaded guilty to the crime in October 2023, is in hospice care and is not expected to live for more than six months
On Monday, Terry Jon Martin received time sentenced and one year of probation for the crime at the U.S. District Court in Duluth, Minn., after he entered a guilty plea in October, as The New York Times and the Associated Press reported. Martin, 76, was also ordered to pay roughly $23,000 to Minnesota's Judy Garland Museum, where he stole the slippers from in an Aug. 27, 2005 heist.
The Associated Press previously reported on Jan. 22 that Martin's defense attorney, Dane DeKrey, said that Martin decided to take part in the crime after an unidentified former mob associate encouraged him to commit "one last score" with the theft and told him the shoes were adorned with real jewels. The man had testified that he disposed of the slippers fewer than two days after stealing them, once he was informed the rubies were made of glass, per the AP. Martin was not familiar with their cultural significance and had never seen The Wizard of Oz before the theft, the outlet reported.
Martin's sentence came after his defense attorney and federal prosecutors both recommended that the man receive time served because he is in hospice care and not expected to live for more than six months, as multiple outlets reported Monday. He did not address the court Monday during his sentencing hearing, per the AP.
“They will never be made whole in this case,” DeKrey said of the victims involved, per the AP. “But they’re more whole than they had been in the last 18 years.”
DeKrey wrote in a memo that Martin initially "declined the invitation to participate" in the 2005 heist. The man had previously had previously been convicted in 1988 on a felony charge of receiving stolen goods and had not committed a crime since his 1996 release from prison, per the AP.
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"But old habits die hard, and the thought of a ‘final score’ kept him up at night,” the defense attorney wrote, per the AP. “After much contemplation, Terry had a criminal relapse and decided to participate in the theft.”
“His intent was singular: He believed the gemstones affixed to the slippers were real rubies, and so he hoped to steal the slippers, remove the rubies, and sell them on the black market through a jewelry-fence,” DeKrey added in the memo, per The New York Times.
The glass slippers are one of four known authentic pairs of shoes Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz. Following the 2005 theft, their whereabouts were unknown until 2017, when Grand Rapids, Minnesota police began coordinating with the FBI on the case.
The FBI announced via a press release that its agents had recovered the slippers in Minneapolis in September 2018 while investigating a scheme to defraud and extort the Markel Corporation, which owns the slippers. The Judy Garland Museum was exhibiting the slippers on loan at the time of the 2005 theft, as CBS reported in 2018.
The three other pairs of slippers used in The Wizard of Oz are owned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They are housed at its museum in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. and with an anonymous private collector.
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