The second trial of Tai Chan, the sheriff’s deputy accused of shooting and killing fellow deputy Jeremy Martin, is underway in New Mexico. Chan’s first trial ended in a mistrial after a jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict. Watch live streaming video of the trial (when it is available) in player above starting at 8:00 a.m. local time, 10:00 a.m. Eastern.
Chan and Martin were both working for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department in October 2014 when they stopped overnight while returning home from a long-distance prisoner transport assignment. The deputies went to a Hooters restaurant and then to a hotel. In the hotel, Chan fired ten rounds at Martin. Five rounds struck him. Martin died shortly later.
Chan took the stand in his first trial. There, he claimed Martin hit him in the face and then threatened to kill him with Chan’s own department-issued weapon. Chan then told jurors that the two deputies struggled for the gun. One round was fired during the struggle. Chan eventually said that he took control of the weapon and started shooting. Martin took off. Chan left the room as well and shot Martin in the hallway outside the room.
During opening statements, defense attorneys told jurors Chan would take the stand again in his second trial.
Testimony Wednesday and Thursday mostly surrounded descriptions of the events in the hotel from guests and employees.
Guest Edward Haselwood testified that he woke up upon hearing a loud argument in an adjacent room. He heard someone cry out, “Oh my God!” Then he heard one gunshot. He went on to describe a “volley” of gunshots. A pause of a few seconds followed, he explained, during which he heard a man running down the hallway. Someone yelled for a 911 call. Then, Haselwood heard a second “volley” of rapid gunshots.
Several other witnesses described being awoken by the commotion, hearing a short burst of quick-succession gunfire, a pause, and then a series or four or five gunshots spaced approximately one second apart. Several said they heard the phrase “get the f–k out of here” right before they heard what they described as the first set of shots.
A few witnesses were so scared by the gunfire that they immediately hid or took cover.
Chan’s lawyers unsuccessfully argued for a judge to dismiss the case in the months leading up to the second trial. They claimed the investigation was botched. In a separate lawsuit, a local detective sought whistleblower status, claiming she was not given the proper resources to investigate the Martin shooting. Chan’s lawyers also have sought to introduce text messages from Martin which they believe show he was living a double life. Prosecutors denied that was the case.
The second trial is expected to last ten days in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
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