Witnesses in Tai Chan trial saw deputy before he was killed


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – In the re-trial of former Santa Fe County Deputy Tai Chan, jurors heard from witnesses on Thursday who say they saw Deputy Jeremy Martin just moments before he died in Oct. 2014.

Employees working at the hotel where Martin was shot took the stand, including one who said she saw Martin in the elevator.

“He was a little excited, anxious like he was looking for someone,” said Joyce Hignight, banquet manager at Hotel Encanto at the time.

Other testimony suggests he was looking for Chan.

Hignight said Martin didn’t seem angry or drunk when she encountered him in the evening.

Later, a hotel security guard said he saw Martin and Chan walk into the hotel, that Martin had his arm around Chan and the two were arguing.

The security guard, Marvin Zamora, said some time after that he went to the top floor to sit in a lounge area.

He was on the same floor where Martin and Chan were staying when he heard gunshots and then saw the deputies in the hall.

“I saw Jeremy coming at me. He was running towards me and then I saw Tai Chan following him,” Zamora said in court.

He said Chan had a gun in his hand, pointed up toward the ceiling.

Then, Zamora said he heard more gunshots and ran away.

However, Zamora didn’t mention seeing Chan in a statement to police that night and left details out in an incident report he wrote for his security company.

The defense highlighted those points and questioned his credibility.

The deputies were staying in Las Cruces, on their way back to Santa Fe after transporting a prisoner.

Hotel guests and workers heard two volleys of gunshots before witnesses said that Martin took the elevator down to the lobby where a front desk clerk saw him holding his chest.

“I saw Jeremy holding himself like that, covered in blood. He dropped to his knees, dropped to his hands and crawled to his left,” said hotel employee Robert Miller. “Very slow and anguished and deeply troubling.”

Prosecutors said Martin was murdered and that Chan shot him in the back as he ran.

The defense said Chan fired in fear for his own life, saying Martin had attacked Chan.

Ultimately, it will be up to the jury to decide.

This is the second jury to face this question after a hung jury last year led to a mistrial.

No one has testified in the re-trial with what the two were arguing about.

Last year, Chan testified that it had to do with a joke he made about a double-murder case in Santa Fe.


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