Hotel guests return to the stand in deputy's retrial
May 10, 2017 07:04 PM
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- A hotel guest says he heard an argument followed by gunfire the night police say a Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a colleague.
Jurors heard more testimony Wednesday in Day 3 of Tai Chan's retrial in a Las Cruces courtroom. Chan is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of another deputy, Jeremy Martin.
A jury heard from hotel guests during Chan's first trial last year, which ended in a mistrial. Two of the guests were back on the stand Wednesday, describing what he heard that fateful night back in October 2014.
Edward Haselwood from Kansas told the jury he was staying on the seventh floor of the Hotel Encanto when he woke up to the sound of two men arguing, although he couldn't make out what they were saying.
"It just seemed that there were two people in a heated face to face argument," Haselwood said. "And that was quickly followed by, I heard a sound of disbelief of either "Oh God" or "Oh no," something to that effect that made me think there was a weapon or a gun present at that point. And that was quickly followed by a single shot."
Haselwood said he then heard some scuffling followed by three or for more gunshots. He then heard someone run past his hotel room door, followed by another four of five shots. Immediately after that, Haselwood said he heard someone say call 911.
"And I went to the door thinking, 'Do I need to call somebody,' and for some reason I went to the door and I could hear someone down at the end of the hallway to my left very labored moaning, nearly crying 'I can't believe this has happened' or something to that effect," he said. "'I can't believe this has happened to me, to me' and they were in a great amount of pain and suffering."
Prosecutors say Chan shot deputy Jeremy Martin five times from behind as Martin ran down the hallway trying to get away from Chan. But the defense claims Martin was the aggressor and Chan shot him in self-defense.
The defense says it was Chan who said call 911 after the shooting and asked Haselwood about the tone of the voice on cross-examination
"It was surprising when I heard 'call 911,'" he said. "It was spoken very clearly, not rushed and not panicked, and I still found that surprising."
Another hotel guest, Mary Anne Hale, returned to the stand for the retrial. She was staying in the room right next to the room rented by Chan and Martin. Hale told the jury she was woken up by a commotion next door and then a loud bang.
"And it sounded like a metal door because it had a metallic sound to it," she said. It could have been a very heavy person with somebody fighting but I think it was the door... 'and then “get the f*** out of here.'”
Hale said she then heard three rapid-fire gunshots and a quick pause, followed by about five more evenly spaced gunshots. Hale told the jury how she hit the floor.
"I dropped down between the bed so I would be protected if gunshots came through the wall," she said.
After the shooting stopped and police arrived, Hale saw a horrifying scene in the hallway outside her room.
"There were shell casings directly across from my room in the doorway and there were shots down the hall," she said. "Blood dripped down the hall."
On cross-examination, the defense pointed out inconsistencies in Hale's statements.
Updated: May 10, 2017 07:04 PM
Created: May 10, 2017 05:57 PM
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