Former Army Major Gets Life Sentence for Killing Court-Martial Witness, 2 Others


ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky.  — A former Army major accused of killing three neighbors to eliminate a witness in a court-martial has been sentenced to life in prison, Kentucky’s attorney general said.

Christian Richard Martin will not be eligible for parole, according to a statement Thursday from Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Jurors convicted Martin after a two-week trial in June in the deaths of Calvin and Pamela Phillips and Edward Dansereau in Pembroke.

The case attracted national attention four years after the 2015 killings when Martin, who was a pilot for an American Airlines subsidiary when he was arrested, was pulled off a jet in handcuffs before taking off from the Louisville airport.

Special prosecutor Barbara Whaley said during the trial that Martin had motive to kill neighbor Calvin Phillips because he was set to testify in a court-martial that could have ended Martin’s Army career, news outlets reported. His wife and Dansereau were in the wrong place at the wrong time, she said.

Whaley said a shell casing at the scene was shown to have been fired from a .45-caliber handgun found in a safe in Martin’s home across the street and that Martin’s dog tags were found in the couple’s home.

Defense attorney Tom Griffiths said there’s forensic proof that the bullets that killed the victims did not come from his client’s gun. He also noted there were no eyewitnesses, no DNA and no fingerprints. He said evidence pointing to his client could have been planted.

Martin was ultimately discharged from the Army and sentenced to 90 days in jail after being convicted by the military court of mishandling classified information and assault on a child, Cameron said.

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