Crime

TAI CHAN RETRIAL: Prosecutor says deputy murdered in cold blood, defense says it was self-defense

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - The district attorney said a former sheriff's deputy killed his unarmed partner in cold blood while the defense attorney argue the killing was self defense.

Opening arguments wrapped up Tuesday morning in the retrial of Tai Chan, the former Santa Fe County Deputy accused of killing his partner, Jeremy Martin.

Jurors will have to decide if Chan acted in self-defense or carried out a calculated murder when he shot and killed Martin.  Authorities say the shooting stemmed from an alcohol-fueled argument.

The shooting happened Oct. 28, 2014 at the Hotel Encanto, where the two deputies were staying overnight after transporting prisoners to Arizona.

Investigators say the two men got into a fight inside their room and Chan shot and killed Martin in a hotel hallway.

Chan's first trial ended in a mistrial when jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision.

"(Martin) is unarmed, he is running for his life and he is severely wounded," District Attorney Mark D'Antonio said, "As he is running away, the defendant to my right, Tai Chan, voluntarily steps into the hall. He levels his semi automatic Glock, takes aim at the fleeing Jeremy Martin, and pulls the trigger five times."

"Mr. Chan was being beaten. Mr Chan was being assaulted by the very same law enforcement officer he was partnered with," Defense Attorney Tom Clark said, "This is self defense. It's one man defending himself against an attack from another man. Two young cops in a life or death struggle: Mr. Chan is able to get ahold of the gun and save his life."

D'Antonio told the jury Martin's wife was pregnant with his third child and Martin took on the assignment as a way to get overtime pay.

The district attorney further stated a witness who saw the shooting's aftermath heard Martin asking, "Oh God, why is this happening to me?"

D'Antonio said not a single witness heard Chan yelling "Stop! Freeze! Don't Move" prior to shots being fired.

"When you hear Mr. Martin was unarmed, remember, that is one side's version of the story," Clark told jurors.

The defense attorney said Martin was drunk the night of the killing and several people, including hotel employees, witnessed Chan helping Martin as the men walked to their room.

Clark further stated witnesses who spend the evening with the deputies told police Martin was angry and bickering all night long. The defense attorney argued his client did in fact run across the hallway asking people for help and telling them to call 911.

Clark also accused Las Cruces Police of botching the investigation.

ABC-7's Jamie Warren is in the courtroom. She will recap witness testimony during ABC-7 at 4, 5, and 6.
 


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