Love, music and murder: The death of Martell Derouen and the case against Sasha Skare

Texas Crime Stories dives into the murder of up-and-coming rapper Martell Derouen

It was a crime that shocked many; an aspiring rapper and veteran Martel Derouen killed with a single gunshot.

The person caught, literally holding the gun in hand was a woman named Sasha Skare.

The murder of Martell Derouen

On January 26, 2021, after a couple of days of not answering phone calls and texts, San Antonio police were dispatched to The Towers complex off La Cantera Parkway to do a welfare check on 34-year-old Martell Derouen.

When police approached the door, they noticed a suspicious hole near the peephole. After getting staff at the complex to help, the door was opened, and right behind it lay Derouen’s body in a pool of blood.

When the investigation began, police discovered several key pieces of evidence; a 911 call and a doorbell camera video.

The investigation

A few days before Derouen was found, a suspicious 911 call was made. In it, you hear a woman’s voice, but that woman was not Derouen’s wife, Joia. They were separated at the time.

A video was also collected from one of Derouen’s neighbors, in it you see a woman in a green dress, with no shoes, walking down the hallway looking at her phone, and in her right hand was a gun.

That woman was identified as Sasha Skare, police put her photo out to the media and the search was on. About two weeks later, she was caught and booked at the Bexar County jail.

Days leading up to her trial more than two years later, a 20-year plea deal was offered to Skare but she declined it.

A jury was picked and testimony was set to begin on August 29. The first person to take the stand was Derouen’s wife.

Skare’s court case

She talked about her relationship with Derouen, and how they got married in 2007 and eventually moved to San Antonio. In 2019 they separated, as he wanted to pursue a music career and she wanted to settle down and have a family.

“We did live in separate apartments. It was just that. We weren’t being intimate or anything like that we were more so just friends,” Joia said.

When asked if she had ever met Skare, she said she had a few times in 2016.

“Originally we met after she wanted to pursue music. Martell met her at a video shoot and then he said ‘Oh, she’s interested in music you know I want to help her out’,” Joia said.

Joia later spoke about going to Derouen’s apartment when she couldn’t reach him and when she got there, cop cars and crime scene tape were up. She called Derouen’s mom and she felt something bad had happened.

“I was just listening to his mom crying on the phone. Everybody was just so sad. I was just in shock honestly. I didn’t want to believe it until somebody actually told me this is what happened,” Joia said.

As the trial proceeded, evidence from the crime scene was shown. Inside Derouen’s apartment was some broken glass, the bed frame was broken, Skare’s bag was sitting on the ground and her shoes were nearby.

An empty gun box was also found in the apartment, it appeared to investigators some kind of struggle or scuffle had occurred.

Nearby neighbors testified hearing two people arguing inside, and the neighbor who lived across the hall said she saw Skare banging on the door but never heard a gunshot.

Another neighbor thought he heard the gunshot but ended up thinking it was the fireworks that run every night at the nearby Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park.

When the lead detective on the case, Lawerence Saiz, took the stand he said that it appeared the two were arguing and at some point, Skare took Deruen’s gun and he threw her out.

The detective explained that because she had left all her stuff inside, she started banging on the door and that when he peeped to look out, she shot through the door.

“It was our belief it was a murder. And it caused the death of the defendant,” Detective Saiz said.

As the state rested its case, the defense had one witness to call up and that was Sasha Skare.

Skare takes the stand

On the stand, Skare was very soft-spoken and seemingly calm.

She talked about meeting Derouen when she was 17, and how they began collaborating in music together.

“We started becoming real close friends after about two years,” Skare said.

Eventually, she said that their relationship evolved and turned sexual about six months before he was killed.

The questions then turned to the night the shooting took place.

Skare said Derouen picked her up and they went back to his place, she said she had some drinks and both were smoking marijuana.

Skare said everything changed after she got a phone call from a photographer.

“He was on the couch. And I was in the kitchen talking,” Skare said. “I went to lay down in the bed. I was scrolling on my phone and he came into the room and turned the lights on He just asked me to leave his apartment. He asked me to leave and I just asked him why. We ended up getting into an argument. He was upset because he felt like I was on the phone with another man.”

She explained the argument got more physical.

“I snatched my stuff from him and that’s pretty much when it started,” Skare said. “He had tackled me onto the bed. And what felt like a long time he was hitting me, choking me until the point I couldn’t’ breathe.”

She said she saw the gun and took it as a way to get out.

“After I grabbed I told him don’t touch me,” she said. “I told him don’t touch me and I started backing up out of the bedroom. I started grabbing dishes out of the cabinet and throwing it in between us.”

“Where you in fear of Martell?” the lawyer asked.

“I was at the time, yes,” Skare said.

Skare said she was able to get out of the apartment but all of her stuff stayed inside she said.

“I was banging on the door with the gun,” Skare said.

“Was he yelling screaming or making any kind of noise,” the lawyer asked. “No,” Skare answered.

“At some point was a shot fired,” the lawyer said. “Yes,” Skare said. “As I was knocking on the door I just threw the gun up and it shot.”

“Did you have any idea he was standing behind that door,” the lawyer asked. “What was your intent when that gun fired?”

“My intent was just to get his attention,” Skare said through tears.

Sasha also admitted to making the 911 call and throwing the gun in a dumpster.

During cross-examination, the state challenged her version of events especially when she said she had to jump over a counter to get away from Derouen.

After her testimony, the defense rested.

Sentencing and victim impact

The next day, the jury was able to deliberate and in just over two hours, they came back with a guilty verdict.

The jury would deliberate again, this time a sentence.

Four and a half hours later, the sentence was in; 55 years in prison.

There was no reaction from Skare as her sentence was handed down.

Derouen’s family members were elated and satisfied with the sentence, they would now get the chance to face Skare. Derouen’s sister Kami gave a powerful impact statement.

“Sasha the pain and agony you brought upon my family in unbearable,” Kami Derouen said. “You deserve this and its time for you to pay. Fix your sheets, if you have any because you’ve made your bed and now its time to lay in it.”

Skare has been transferred to a prison in Dayton, TX. She will become eligible for parole in 2048.

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About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

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