LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a mistrial. After almost 14 hours of deliberation, a jury could not decide the fate of a Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputy accused of murdering a fellow deputy.
Jurors told the judge there was no way they could all agree on a verdict.
The jury had a lot to consider, going over two full weeks of testimony in the past two days. But in the end, they just couldn’t all get on the same page.
Judge: “And again, you’re not anticipating with any further deliberations that there would be any movement related to any of the three charges?”
Jury: “That was the final question I asked my fellow jurors and everyone admitted that they would not move from their last decision.”
Essentially jurors had four decisions to choose from. The jury told the judge one person wanted to convict Chan of first degree murder, six believed it was second degree and then five jurors voted voluntary manslaughter. Jurors told the judge a not guilty verdict wasn’t being discussed.
“The inability to reach a verdict is related to guilt of the specific level of severity of the crime,” asked the judge. “Correct sir,” said the juror.
It was October 2014 when investigators say Chan shot and killed Jeremy Martin, a fellow Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy at a Las Cruces hotel after a night of drinking and arguing.
Martin was unarmed when he was shot in the back while running away.
Chan says it was self-defense, claiming Martin attacked him.
Both Chan and Martin’s family spoke to KRQE News 13 after the mistrial.
Chan described what waiting for a verdict these past two days were like. “I don’t think words can describe… nervous… scared… terrified… those emotions combined into one,” said Chan.
“They know he’s guilty, it’s a question of whether they want to put a civil servant like Chan, a former silver servant like Chan away for 5, 15, or 30 years,” said James Martin, the brother of Jeremy Martin.
Martin’s family says they’re not giving up.
The District Attorney’s office said they plan on retrying the case as soon as possible.
Chan’s attorneys say this was still self-defense and they’ll be ready for another trial.
“What this showed was that a number of the jurors believed sincerely that Tai acted in self-defense to save his own life,” said Chan’s Attorney, John Day.
Chan is still charged with first-degree murder. He’s currently living in Dona Ana County.
If Chan were convicted of first degree murder he was looking at life in prison and second degree is 16 years while voluntary manslaughter is up to 10.