New Mexico

District Attorney appoints special counsel to prosecute Tai Chan a third time

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Two special prosecutors have been appointed to prosecute former Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputy Tai Chan a third time, the Office of Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D'Antonio announced Friday.

Chan is accused of shooting and killing his partner, Deputy Jeremy Martin, at the Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces in October 2014. The deputies were spending the night in Las Cruces after dropping off a prisoner in Arizona.

Chan, charged with first-degree murder, has been tried twice and both trials have ended in a hung jury. The former deputy maintains he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him inside their hotel room. Both had been drinking, according to testimony.

The Third Judicial District Attorney's Office and the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance have entered into an agreement and prosecutors from the OSI will take over the case.

The Office of Superintendent of Insurance deals mostly with consumer and fraud issues; however, a spokesman with D'Antonio's office said Troy Davis and Devin Chapman, the prosecutors assigned to the case, have ample experience in murder cases. They both worked in the Office of the Second Judicial District Attorney in Bernalillo  county: Davis was the chief deputy district attorney and Chapman was an assistant district attorney.

"Jeremy Martin's widow, Sarah Martin, and his brother James Martin were consulted by my office, and they are fully supportive of the decision to bring OSI prosecutors Troy Davis and Devin Chapman in on the case," D'Antonio said in a statement. "We believe that fresh eyes and a rigorous prosecutorial perspective, implemented by a team of seasoned prosecutors such as Mr. Davis and Mr. Chapman, will effectively present this case to a jury." 

The case is currently scheduled for trial beginning April 9, 2018.