Alachua County realtor, veteran enters treatment court after threatening city commission officials

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A Gainesville man will enter a diversionary veterans treatment court after threatening Gainesville city commissioners via email and Facebook posts. 

Terry Martin-Back was accepted into the diversionary program after an evaluation process. A judge in Alachua County found him an eligible veteran with a “qualified diagnosis” to enter the program. If he successfully completes the 12-month program, his charges will be dismissed. 

The veterans treatment program, enacted in 2013 in Alachua County, works to rehabilitate veteran defendants with mental or substance abuse disorders using the local Veterans Affairs hospital and resources. Martin-Back is required to appear and attend court during the next year to track his progress.

At several points in the process, it was unclear whether Martin-Back would be eligible for the veteran’s treatment court. However, Martin-Back’s assessment from the VA confirmed his needs to the court.

“Be as transparent as you can. These are treatment programs, so I need to know what you really need support with. Most people in this court know that I wouldn’t admit anyone if I don’t believe they can do the program,” Circuit Judge Phillip A. Pena said.

Pena said that he was aware that Martin-Back had already issued letters of apologies to the victims and that they were willing to cooperate with him.

According to a sworn complaint, Terry Martin-Back on Sept. 9, 2022, sent a threatening email to the Gainesville City Commission.

Later, Martin-Back made a public Facebook post where he suggested he may “lose control” of his post-traumatic stress disorder and didn’t think he would be able to control his actions if he saw the city commissioners who voted in favor of inclusionary zoning, a controversial plan that ended virtually before it began. 

“You have a choice… stop me or join in,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Police charged him with a second-degree felony of intimidation by sending a written threat to kill and a third-degree felony of corruption by making a threat against a public servant.

Debra Martin-Back, his wife, is a franchisee of Exit Realty Producers in Gainesville. Terry Martin-Back, 69, whose biography appears on the website, said he is a 20-year Army veteran and was a cavalry scout with the 1st Infantry Division during Operation Desert Storm. 

Martin-Back, by court order, may not own any weapons and firearms or have direct or indirect contact with former and current members of the city commission: Adrian Hayes-Santos, Harvey Ward, Cynthia Chestnut, Reina Saco, Lauren Poe, Desmon Duncan-Walker and David Arreola.

About Sandra McDonald

Sandra is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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