Dying Mobster Likely Won’t Get Jail Time For High-Profile Theft

Following sentencing, a dying criminal is anticipated to avoid incarceration for his confession to stealing Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz movie.

In 2005, Terry Jon Martin (76) stole the slippers from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the late actor’s birthplace. His attorney informed the federal court in a memorandum delivered before his sentence in Duluth that he succumbed to desire after an old gang buddy convinced him that the shoes were valued at $1 million due to the real rubies.

Reports show that the FBI recovered the shoes when someone tried to collect the reward in 2018.  Charges were not brought against Martin until last year.

In his guilty plea last October, he admitted to stealing the slippers by smashing the glass of the display case with a hammer.  The defense attorney, Dane DeKrey, explained his motivation.

At the October hearing, Martin, a resident of the Grand Rapids area, said he intended to sell the shoes after removing what he believed to be genuine rubies. The rubies were actually glass, according to Martin, who was alerted by a fence that trades in stolen items.

Because Martin is housebound in hospice care and anticipated to die within six months, both parties urge Chief U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz to sentence him to time served. When he pled guilty, he was wheelchair-bound and needed oxygen for COPD.  According to reports, all parties agreed he should pay $23,500 to the museum, yet he cannot afford it.

According to federal prosecutors, the slippers’ worth is around $3.5 million.

Judy Garland ( born Frances Gumm) was born in 1922. Until she was four years old, her family resided in Grand Rapids,  two hundred miles north of Minneapolis. They eventually relocated to Los Angeles. She passed away in 1969.

The Judy Garland Museum has a comprehensive assortment of Wizard of Oz and Garland artifacts housed in her childhood home.