Jurors in Riverside County, California must now determine if Brandon Willie Martin, 27, will get the death penalty for murdering his father Michael Martin, 64, maternal uncle Ricky Anderson, 51, and ADT alarm installer Barry Swanson, 62. He was convicted on Wednesday. You can watch in the player above.
The penalty phase is expected to run for at least three days spanning more than a week: prosecutors are set to take a full day on Monday, November 9. The defense would then take over on Tuesday, November 10, but the court will be in recess for the rest of the week. Things will pick up again Monday, November 16.
If things go as scheduled, then jurors may have the case by Tuesday, November 17. They must decide between a life or death sentence. The distinction could be irrelevant in practice because California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) implemented a moratorium on capital punishment in 2019, and the state has not put anyone to death since 2006. The Golden State was never prolific on this matter in the first place, only executing 13 inmates since 1978, despite hundreds being on death row at the time the moratorium was made.
In any case, expect both sides to argue over Brandon Willie Martin’s mental state. The defendant, a former professional baseball player and early 2011 Major League Baseball draft pick whose minor league career was marked by injuries as well as friction with coaches, was released. In accounts, he turned his hostility toward his family in various incidents, attacking his older brother, calling his father (who was Black) racist slurs, and put scissors to his mother’s neck. Problems came to a head after his family had him put on a 72-hour mental heath hold. He was released–early, according to a lawsuit–and his beat his wheelchair-bound father to death. The prosecution said that Swanson, who was installing an alarm system at the home, was just the wrong place and the wrong time. Andersen initially survived, but passed away after two days in a coma.
[Mugshot via Riverside County]
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