AN EX-ARMY pilot was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering three neighbors – one of whom he claimed had an affair with his “bigamist” ex-wife and was testifying in his child rape court-martial trial.
Christian Richard Martin, 53, faces between 20 years and life behind bars for fatally shooting Edward Dansereau and married couple Calvin and Pamela Phillips nearly six years ago.
Calvin’s wife, Pamela Phillips, 58, and their neighbor, Edward Dansereau, 63, were also found in a nearby cornfield inside her burned-out car the next day.
They had both been shot in the head.
Jurors convicted Martin this week after seven hours of deliberation following a two-week trial.
Prosecutors had argued Phillips was scheduled to testify against Martin in his court-martial trial two weeks after his murder.
Martin, who served in the Army between 1986 and 2016, had been accused by his ex-wife Joan Harmon of physical and sexual abuse and mishandling classified military materials, Daily Mail reports.
Phillips told private investigators hired by Martin that he thought the pilot had stolen an Army laptop.
Prosecutors claimed that Martin had killed Phillips to avoid him testifying about the laptop and that his wife and neighbor were unlucky to be there.
Yet, Martin claimed he did not have a motive as Calvin was going to be a “star witness” in his defense at the court-martial.
He said in an interview with WSMV in April 2016 that Calvin Phillips had a long-term affair with his ex-wife that was known to “everyone in town.”
“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.”
Martin and Harmon had split and their marriage was voided three years before the murders after he allegedly found out she already had a husband.
He claimed that he had not been jealous of her affair with Calvin Phillips as it had “gotten me out of this huge mess.”
“I just call her the ex-bigamist,” Martin said in the 2016 interview.
Yet he claims that after they split, Harmon accused him of rape, sodomy, child abuse, child molestation, and stealing a military computer.
Philips had told private investigators he found the laptop when he helped Harmon move out.
“He was my star defense witness,” Martin said.
“My private investigator went through all the allegations with him … and just went down the whole line and just refuted everything. And I was like, I’m golden.”
“And the other thing he had done for me was he had gotten me out of this bigamist relationship. This woman had basically been milking me for eight years, and I didn’t know it. And so I owed him for that really,” he added.
Phillips’ family claimed his comments about the victim being his star witness were “absurd.”
“My parents died for this court-martial,” son Matt Phillips said in 2019. according to NBC.
“My father was a federal witness. This was an attack not only on my family but on the entire justice system.”
Martin was eventually found guilty in the court-martial of one count of mishandling classified information and assault on a child under the age of 16.
He was dismissed from the Army and received 90 days in jail.
After the murders, he also moved from Christian County, Kentucky, and was most recently living in North Carolina, as prosecutors came across no evidence that could initially tie him to the deaths.
Yet he was finally indicted in May 2019 whiel he was working as a pilot at PSA Airlines – a subsidiary of American Airlines.
He was arrested the following day, just as he was about to fly as the first officer on a flight from Louisville to Charlotte, North Carolina.
Martin was still wearing his uniform when his mugshot was taken.
He was found guilty of 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, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Wednesday.
The Kentucky attorney general’s office took over the case in 2017 after the Phillips’ son Matt contacted it saying he feared the murder investigation had stalled.
In a statement, relatives said they were “haunted by what was done to them and haunted further that someone was still free to do as they wish, beyond the civility of mankind or laws of our nation.”
“Our hearts and prayers are with the family and friends of these victims,” Cameron said in a statement Wednesday.
“The families and the Pembroke community have endured a profound loss. While this verdict in no way eases that pain, I hope that they find some peace and comfort today.”
“I am grateful to our special prosecutors, Barbara Whaley and Alex Garcia, as well as the Kentucky State Police and the Christian County Sheriff’s Office for their work in this case,” Cameron added.