LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Prosecutors are trying once again to convince a jury that a former Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy is guilty of murdering his partner.
“The facts of this case will show there is only one victim, in this case, one and the only one that is Jeremy Martin,” District Attorney Mark D’Antonio said. “He is unarmed, he is running for his life, he is severely wounded.”
Opening statements took place Tuesday in the retrial of Tai Chan.
Chan admits to shooting Deputy Jeremy Martin in Las Cruces in October of 2014 while on a prisoner transport, but Chan claims it was self-defense.The last trial ended in a hung jury.
Jeremy Martin’s widow, Sarah Martin, was emotional after taking the stand on Tuesday.
She testified about the last time she heard from her husband before he was killed.
“The last time I heard from his was at 11:49 p.m., and I never heard from him again,” Sarah said, crying.
She said her husband volunteered for the assignment to take a prisoner to Arizona in order to get overtime for his growing family.
At the time, the couple had three children and another one on the way.
In her testimony, Sarah said her husband never mentioned any conflict with Chan on the night of the shooting. She described Jeremy as kindhearted and friendly.
“In the 12 years we had been married, I’d never seen him lose his temper,” she said.
Before her testimony, prosecutors were passionate during opening statements in their plea for jurors to convict Chan of first-degree murder. Chan’s attorneys also tried to convince them he had no choice.
“Two young cops in a life or death struggle Mr. Chan is able to get pistol, and begins to fire to save his life,” said Tom Clark, Chan’s attorney.
“The defendant is guilty of first-degree murder,” District Attorney Mark D’Antonio told the jury.
Unlike the first trial, this jury visited the murder scene at the Hotel Encanto on Tuesday afternoon.
The judge had said on Monday that he felt the jury during the first trial was confused about the layout and what happened where. That’s why this time, he granted the prosecutor’s request for a hotel worker to take the jury on a tour of areas like the lobby and the room where Chan and Martin had been staying.