Ex-Army Major Christian Martin, 53, was found guilty Wednesday of the 2015 murders of Calvin Philips, Pamela Phillips and Edward Dansereau in Pembroke, Kentucky
The former Major Apache pilot is convicted of murdering neighbor he claimed ‘was having affair with his bigamist ex-wife’ and two others to stop child rape court martial against him going ahead
Martin was accused of child rape and assault and the case set Martin up for a court-martial
The allegations were made by Martin’s ex-wife Joan Harmon, who he had recently learned was a bigamist – Martin claimed in 2016 that Calvin was having a long-term affair with Harmon
Calvin Phillips, 59, was found shot dead in the cellar of his home on Nov 18, 2015 while the charred remains of his wife Pamela Phillips, 58, and neighbor Edward Dansereau, 63, were found in a nearby cornfield inside her burned out car
The Phillips and their friend were murdered just two weeks before Calvin was due to testify against Martin in a court martial case
In his court-martial Martin was found guilty of mishandling classified material and child assault in the court martial, was discharged from the military and sentenced to 90 days
He moved to North Carolina and began a new career as a commercial pilot in 2018, three years after the murders, Martin was about to fly when he was arrested at Louisville Airport in May 2019
Jury spent just seven and a half hours deliberating before returning their verdict Wednesday evenings
He faces 20 years to life without parole in the sentencing phase of his trial, which began Thursday
Christian Martin, 53, was found guilty Wednesday of the 2015 murders of Calvin Philips, Pamela Phillips and Edward Dansereau in Pembroke, Kentucky in 2015.
The former Army Major killed a neighbor he believed was sleeping with his ex-wife as well as two others to stop a child rape court martial against him.
59-year-old Calvin Phillip Calvin was found shot dead in the cellar of his home in November 2015. The charred remains of his wife Pamela Phillips, 58, and their neighbor Dansereau, 63, were found hours later a few miles away in a cornfield inside her burned out car. Both been shot in the head.
The murders took place just two weeks before Calvin Phillips was due to testify against Martin in a court martial case where the 30-year military veteran was accused of child rape and assault of his stepson. Investigators said the other victims were shot for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Martin later moved to North Carolina, and began a career working for American Airlines subsidiary PSA in 2018, after being discharged from the military.
The allegations were first made by Martin’s ex-wife Joan Harmon, who he had recently learned was a bigamist.
Martin claimed in a 2016 interview that Calvin Phillips was also having a long-term affair with his wife, Joan Harmon, while they were married.
With the witness unavailable to testify in the court martial case, Martin was found guilty on charges of two counts of mishandling of classified material and two counts of assault of a child, but was found not guilty on both charges of rape of a child and communicating a threat.
Still, he was discharged from the military and sentenced to 90 days in jail, before later moving out-of-state to begin a new career as a commercial pilot.
The gruesome triple murders went unsolved for more than three years until Martin was dramatically arrested at Louisville International Airport in May 2019 – just minutes before he was about to fly a plane for American Airlines’ subsidiary PSA Airlines.
The jury spent just seven and a half hours deliberating before returning their verdict Wednesday evening.
Martin was convicted of all charges in the triple murder case in Hardin Circuit Court Wednesday, including three counts of murder, one count of arson in the first degree, one count of attempted arson, two counts of burglary in the first degree, and three counts of tampering with physical evidence.
He faces 20 years to life without parole in the sentencing phase of his trial, which began Thursday.
During the two-week trial, Special prosecutor Barbara Whaley said Martin had the motive to kill neighbor Calvin because he was set to testify in the court-martial that could have ended Martin’s Army career.
A military witness testified at the trial that Calvin was the reason for the court martial being brought in the first place.
Meanwhile, Calvin’s wife Pamela and Dansereau were in the wrong place at the wrong time, said prosecutors.
Martin was accused of shooting Calvin dead in his home on the morning of November 18.
He then allegedly moved the body to the cellar and tried unsuccessfully to burn it.
Martin then returned to the home later that day, bumping into Pamela and Dansereau, who he then also shot and killed.
He then set an alarm for 1.10am the following morning and got up and drove the two bodies a few miles away in Pamela’s car, before torching the vehicle.
Furthermore, 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, Whaley said.
Martin’s dog tags were also found in the Philips’ home.
Prosecutors also pointed to Martin’s cell phone tower records which showed he was inactive at three points during November 18 2015.
The jury spend just seven and a half hours in deliberations before returning their verdict in the Christian Martin triple-murder case on Wednesday evening.
They said the murders were committed and the bodies moved and burned during those inactive periods.
The records, prosecutors said, also disproved his alibi that he was at home at the time of the killings.
But, Martin continued to protest his innocence throughout his trial, taking the stand Tuesday to slam the charges against him as ‘stupid.’
‘Stupid. I didn’t do it and the evidence shows I didn’t do it,’ Martin testified.
‘I didn’t do anything like that at all. Like I said, all the evidence shows I didn’t do anything with this. I’m not involved in this.’
Martin also claimed that Calvin was actually going to testify in support of him at the court martial.
He said Calvin had admitted to his private investigators that he had never heard Harmon accuse Martin of assaulting her or her children.
‘My private investigators had interviewed Calvin, and we have his audio, and it was played on Channel 4 Nashville, and he denied all of that,’ Martin testified.
His defense attorney Tom Griffiths argued there was 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.
The defense claimed evidence pointing to Martin could have been planted – possibly by his ex-wife who had access to his firearms.
Both the shell casing and the dog tags were found by family members of Calvin several months after the murders.
Harmon and her son both invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the trial.
In a 2016 interview with WSMV, Martin said he believed Harmon had been having a long-running affair with Calvin.
‘Everyone in town knew what was going on while I was at work every day,’ Martin said.
‘They were together all day long, and they didn’t really try to hide it or anything like that.’
But he said he was grateful to his neighbor as it helped him get out of his bigamist marriage.
Martin and Harmon’s marriage was annulled around three years prior to the murders, after he discovered she had already been married to another man before they wed. Martin claimed his ex-wide warned him ‘I will ruin your life’ when they split.
Martin was named a person of interest in the murders almost immediately after the bodies were discovered and his house was raided by a SWAT team at the time. However it was three years before he was indicted on May 10 2019.
He was then handcuffed and arrested the following day at the airline gate at Louisville airport as he was about to pilot a commercial plane.
He was still wearing his pilot uniform when he was photographed in his mugshot.
Due to the high-profile nature of the case, the trial was moved from Christian County to Hardin County.
In the court-martial, the trial was pushed back to the following May.
Martin was convicted by the military court of mishandling classified information and assault on a child.
He was discharged from the military and sentenced to 90 days in jail. He was on active duty again from 2005 serving as a Fort Campbell Major when he was dismissed in 2016.
He was hired as a Bombardier CRJ First Officer for PSA Airlines in January 2018.