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Unsolved murders from 2013 still haunt Orlando

Tamika Bryant is still waiting for justice after the shooting death of her husband, Herman “Lil Man” Brant; also, brief profiles of three other unsolved murders from 2013

Photo: Photos courtesy Tamika Bryant, License: N/A

Photos courtesy Tamika Bryant

Photo: , License: N/A

He spoke from a small security window through which money and food are exchanged. A large banner hangs above the hatch. In bright red letters it states an unknowingly haunting message: “Under new management.”

In addition to Herman Bryant’s murder, Orlando police are still working to solve three other murder cases from 2013. Here are brief profiles of each of the other victims whose homicides are still unsolved.

Martin Martinez

Martinez (known as “Energy” by friends) was a 28-year-old Hispanic man who’d just started over in Orlando after losing his job loading containers at a port facility in Miami, according to a report by the Orlando Sentinel.

On Jan. 17, 2013, he was shot along with his girlfriend in his residence at NorthBridge Apartments on Estabrook Woods Drive, near the Mall of Millenia. His girlfriend lived, but Martinez was killed in the attack, which investigators characterized as a “home-invasion robbery.”

Police say the shooter was a thin black male around 5 feet, 10 inches tall, probably in his late 20s or early 30s, and wore a “dark bubble jacket, navy blue skullcap and Timberland boots.” He was assisted by a getaway driver in a white 2000 to 2007 Ford Taurus.

Another man was shot and killed the previous December at a complex next door (the Villages on Millenia), but police made two arrests in that case.

Martinez had roommates and was only living in the apartment temporarily. He’d only been in town for a month, so it seems one of four things happened: He made enemies quickly; trouble followed him from Miami; the gunman intended to target one of the other roommates; or this was just another senseless killing in the course of a robbery.

Martinez’s older brother, Alvaro Ferrey, told a local NBC affiliate that his brother was a decent person who was just looking for work.

“There’s so many different things that are flowing through my mind,” Ferrey said during a television interview in South Florida. “There’s not one thing that I could really say, you know, ‘This is what happened.’ I’m just very in pain with the circumstances, and I want justice to be served for my brother. I mean, he was a very caring person. He was at home. He wasn’t looking for trouble.”

Karl Bess

Karl Bess was a 31-year-old dreadlocked black man who lived in Orlando for eight years with his wife. He was a father of three and a full-time employee of a pool company. At around 10 p.m. on July 21, 2013, while attending the “Hype Reloaded” reggae event with some friends at Festival Field near the Citrus Bowl, Bess was beaten by six to 10 black males and stabbed multiple times. He died at the hospital.

According to OPD, his four-door blue 2006 Audi also went missing the night he was slain.

Bess’ family spoke out within a week of his death, and his mother’s tear-streaked face appeared on reports by WESH and WOFL pleading for witnesses to come forward.

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