Former MTV From G's to Gents Winner Thaddeus Martin Sentenced to Ten Years in Florida Prison UPDATED

When Thaddeus Martin won the first season of MTV’s From G’s to Gents in 2008, he wanted to mark the permanence of his transformation into a gentleman. Four months later, in a postseason reunion episode, the Miami Gardens native rolled up his sleeves and revealed a tattoo of the show’s logo on the inside of his left forearm.

“To a new beginning,” Martin said in a toast during the season finale. “No more goon, no more aggressiveness — strictly a gentleman from now on.”

But in May, Martin was sentenced to ten years in prison for violating probation after police found a .9 millimeter Ruger handgun, a .22 caliber rifle, and a “samurai sword” in his home, according to an arrest report. It looks like he'll stay in prison because a judge has rejected Martin's attorney's argument that he should be set free because of a clerical error.

Martin had been on parole for felony battery and false imprisonment charges, which he pleaded guilty to in 2013. A police report alleged that he forced a girlfriend into his car with a handgun and beat her unconscious before driving her to the emergency room.

Chris Manson, Martin’s uncle and a member of the board of directors of the Greater Miami chapter of the ACLU, said the house police searched and all the weapons they found there belonged to Martin’s mother. The sword, he said, was strictly decorative.

Manson also said Judge Victoria Brennan called Martin “Creepa” in court, a reference to the name he went by on From G's to Gents. Manson alleges that the courts used underhanded tactics to put his nephew in jail, possibly to punish Martin for his celebrity or Manson for his ties to the ACLU.

“It definitely played in there,” Manson said. “They’re trying to make sure they get him.”

After Martin was sentenced for violating probation, his attorney filed a motion arguing that technically, he wasn't on probation when police searched the house. Although Martin signed a plea deal in 2013 in which he agreed to 18 months of probation for the false imprisonment charge, the actual sentence had been mistyped and didn't include probation on that count.

Brennan denied Martin's motion on June 27.

Back when Martin was vying to win $100,000 in prize money on MTV, he spoke on camera about wanting to transform himself into a role model of gentility for his city. “When I get back home, there’s a lot of people that need this, that have to be taught this,” he said, “because they don’t know nothing else.”

In the closing moments of the season, From G’s to Gents host Fonzworth Bentley reflected on how far Martin had come under his guidance.

“I think that this experience has really paved the way for a brighter future for him,” Bentley said. “You know, all in all, I really did a good job.”

Updated Tuesday, July 19, at 11 a.m.: Chris Manson emailed to say that while Martin pleaded guilty to felony battery and false imprisonment, Martin's family disputes the police allegation that he forced his ex-girlfriend into his car at gunpoint. Manson didn’t dispute that Martin hit the woman but said it was self-defense.

After Martin pleaded guilty in 2013, he hired a new attorney who alleged that he was “coerced, pressured, frightened into taking the plea deal” under “improper and undue influence” and argued that the plea should be thrown out.

His attorney also moved to disqualify Bronwyn Miller, the original judge in Martin’s case, because throughout the defense’s argument she was allegedly “rolling her eyes,” “tapping her pen,” “patting her feet and continuously sighing,” and then she “pushed her chair back, put her head down, placed her hands on her forehead and appeared to be attempting to block out Counsel altogether.”

Miller granted the motion and disqualified herself in 2013, but Martin’s guilty plea still stands.

Manson is also a board member of the People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, in addition to his position on the board of the Miami ACLU.
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Nicolás Rivero
Contact: Nicolás Rivero