Woman who allegedly used COVID loan to hire hitman to kill TSA agent could get bond

Prosecutors tell slain woman’s mother to expect judge’s decision soon

Hearing underway for murder-for-hire plot allegedly funded with pandemic paycheck protection program loan.

MIAMI, Fla. – The defense is working to convince a judge to grant bond to Jasmine Martinez.

Martinez allegedly used the federal Paycheck Protection Program to pay a gunman who fatally shot Le’Shonte Jones, a TSA worker, and wounded her 3-year-old daughter in a broad-daylight attack outside her Miami apartment on May 3, 2021.

Jones’s mother, Darlene Dukes, was in the front row of the courtroom on Thursday as Martinez sat handcuffed and remain stonefaced.

Dukes told Local 10 News that “my hopes are that they let her remain where she needs to be. Kill some poor girl, you know, with a three-year-old right there. Her kid,” Dukes said.

The three-year-old was grazed by gunfire but survived. Investigators believe Jones was the victim of a murder-for-hire plot and that the mastermind was Martinez.

Dukes, wearing a picture of her daughter in a silver-framed heart necklace to court, said she is her daughter’s voice. “I now have to fight for her,” she said.

Investigators documented a pattern of Martinez threatening Jones for years. In 2018, Martinez was accused of striking Jones with a closed fist to her face.

In a 2020 robbery case, police say Martinez’s former boyfriend stole her cell phone. In 2021, Martinez was accused of harassing Jones to keep her from testifying against him and was caught on jail call conversations telling her ex-boyfriend she is “ready to go kill” Jones and that she “has to die.”

Police say Martinez hired a man to kill Jones.

According to Martinez’s arrest form, she received a Paycheck Protection Program loan for $15,000 — money meant to help small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Investigators tracked more than $10,000 in cash withdrawals in the days leading up to the murder.

Prosecutors have told Jones’s mother to expect a ruling from the judge in the coming days.


About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.