Jury selection begins in Tai Chan retrial

The Associated Press
May 08, 2017 07:23 PM

LAS CRUCES, N.M.  -- Jury selection is underway in the retrial of a former Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy accused in the 2014 shooting death of a fellow deputy during what authorities say stemmed from an alcohol-fueled argument.


The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that 99 potential jurors were summoned to appear in state district court in Las Cruces on Monday. A dozen will be selected to serve on the jury along with several alternates.

Prosecutors say Tai Chan murdered Jeremy Martin during a drunken argument at Hotel Encanto, where the two deputies were staying on their way back to Santa Fe after transporting a prisoner to Arizona.

Chan’s first trial, which was held last year, lasted two-and-a-half weeks. Chan took the stand in his own defense, testifying he shot Jeremy Martin in self-defense. But the jury was hung and the judge declared a mistrial.

Chan's attorney, John Day, said the retrial should be similar to the first trial.

"Because it is a retrial both sides have seen each other's cards and the facts aren't going to change. The facts are the same," Day said during a phone interview from Santa Fe Friday afternoon.

After Chan’s first mistrial, Day and his team were able to speak to jurors about why they couldn't reach a decision.

"What at least six of the jurors told us was that they thought it was a case of self-defense,” Day said. “I think at least half of the jury believed it was a self-defense case which was our position from the start."

While the facts of the case won't change, the approach of how that evidence is explained to the jury by the prosecution and defense may change.

"We believe because we had at least half the jury with us the first time that we'll be able to show this jury, the new jury, that it was a case of self-defense," said Day.

The retrial starts Monday with jury selection.


The Associated Press

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