Ex-pilot brutally shot and killed three neighbors to stop his court-martial. Jury says lock him up for life.

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Source: Christian County Detention Center

Jun. 17 2021, Published 4:15 p.m. ET

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A former American Airlines pilot brutally murdered three of his neighbors to try and stop one from testifying against him. A jury now says the ex-pilot should spend the rest of his life behind bars for murder.

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Kentucky prosecutors say Christian R. Martin, 53, shot three of his neighbors to death on Nov. 18, 2015, according to WTVQ. A jury convicted Martin of all charges after a two-week trial in Hardin Circuit Court that ended this week.

The victims were identified as Edward Dansereau, Calvin Phillips and Pamela Phillips.

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Calvin Phillips was found dead in his Pembroke, Kentucky, home, while the remains of Desereau and Pamela Phillips were found in a burned vehicle in a field, WTVQ reported.

The murders took place two weeks before Calvin Phillips was scheduled to testify in Martin’s military court trial on multiple charges, which prosecutors say was the motive for the killing.

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The military court convicted Martin on one count of mishandling classified information and one count of assault on a child. Martin was sentenced to 90 days in jail and was discharged after 30 years of military service, according to WTVQ.

Martin had served as an army major for more than 30 years, according to USA Today.

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His charges in connection to the shooting included three counts of murder, one count of arson, one count of attempted arson, two counts of burglary and three counts of tampering with physical evidence, according to the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General.

He was handcuffed at an airline gate as he was about to take off on May 11, 2019. He was still wearing his pilot’s uniform when he was booked into jail on three counts of complicity to murder, arson and other charges, according to Louisville Courier-Journal

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“The families and the Pembroke community have endured a profound loss,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a statement Wednesday night. “While this verdict in no way eases that pain, I hope that they find some peace and comfort today.” 

A jury recommended that Martin be sentenced to life in prison, but a judge will make the final decision. 

The sentencing phase of the trial is scheduled to begin on June 17.

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