Martin, 64, was convicted in 1978 of shooting a New Castle woman in the head. He later escaped from custody and hid for a time in Clayton.

The Delaware Department of Correction is reporting the death of convicted murderer Robert J. Martin, 64, formerly of New Castle.

Martin was pronounced dead at 1:48 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, department spokeswoman Kate Weber said in a press release.

Martin, who was serving a life term for first-degree murder, died at an outside hospital, Weber said.

Martin and another man, Richard F. Massey, were convicted in June 1978 for the Nov. 8, 1977, murder of Nancy Clark Perkins Repman, 60, of Greenville. The pair were surprised while burglarizing the Repman home and killed the woman with a shot to the head.

Police named them as suspects after some of the 100 antique weapons stolen during the burglary turned up for sale in the Wilmington area.

Massey was arrested eight days after the killing, while Martin was taken into custody Nov. 25, 1977, in a Cincinnati, Ohio, motel room. A .357 Magnum pistol found hidden in a toilet tank later was confirmed as the murder weapon.

Both men were on parole at the time of Repman’s murder. Both were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Martin was the object of a massive manhunt when on April 18, 1979, he shot his way out of custody while being examined for stomach pains at a Wilmington hospital. He apparently obtained the handgun, which had been hidden in a bathroom trash can, took a security guard hostage and fired several shots while running out of the building.

A 9-year-old girl was slightly wounded during Martin’s escape. The person who hid the weapon in the bathroom never was identified.

A police dragnet resulted in Martin’s arrest about three weeks later when he was found hiding under a mattress in a home in Taneytown, Md. Police at the time said Martin apparently had been wounded in the leg during his escape. They also learned Martin had stayed in Smyrna temporarily while on the run.

A Clayton woman later was placed on three years’ probation after she was convicted of helping Martin evade capture.

Martin was convicted of escape in November 1979 and was given an additional 30-year sentence.

Weber said Martin’s family had been notified of his death and his remains turned over to the State Division of Forensic Science, standard procedure in these circumstances.

Foul play is not suspected, Weber added.

A check of the state’s victims information network shows Massey, now 70, remains in custody at the Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown.