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Wife of slain deputy testifies in Tai Chan trial

Kai Porter
May 10, 2017 06:53 AM

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- A jury heard emotional testimony in court Tuesday afternoon as the widow of murdered Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy Jeremy Martin took the stand.

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Fellow deputy Tai Chan is on trial for a second time, charged with murdering martin at a Las Cruces hotel nearly three years ago.

The jury listened to opening statements in the morning and then was bussed to Hotel Encanto -- where martin was shot -- to get oriented with the hotel's layout.

In the afternoon, the jury heard emotional testimony from Martin's widow. Sarah Martin broke down in tears on the stand as prosecutors showed a picture of her husband of 12 years

Prosecutor: "In your opinion was your husband, Jeremy Martin, a man who was violent or quick tempered?"

Sarah Martin: "In the 12 years that we had been married, I'd never seen him lose his temper or anything like that."

Jeremy Martin's accused murderer, Chan, sat just feet away in the courtroom as prosecutors asked Sarah Martin about her late husband.

Prosecutor: "Mrs. Martin, how well did you husband know the defendant?"

Sarah Martin: "He didn't know him at all to my knowledge. He told me the night before he left that he didn't know him, but this would give him a chance to get to know him."

But what should have been a routine prisoner transport from Santa Fe to Arizona went horribly wrong when the deputies stopped in Las Cruces on their way back. During opening statements, prosecutors said Chan gunned down Martin following a drunken fight at Hotel Encanto.

"The facts will show that the defendant repeatedly shot and unarmed defenseless man in the back while he was running away from the conflict," District Attorney Mark D'Antonio said.

During his opening statement, Chan's attorney Tom Clark told the jury evidence will show it was self-defense.

"He's going to tell you he felt threatened, that he was indeed threatened with a firearm, that a gun was pointed at him and Mr. Martin told him, 'I'm going to murder you,'" Clark said.

Chan's first trial last year ended with a hung jury, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial. This retrial is expected to last two weeks.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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