Ex-pilot gets life sentence in gruesome Kentucky triple murder he insists he didn't do
Former commercial pilot Christian “Kit” Martin was sentenced Thursday to life without parole for a triple murder in Christian County.
Circuit Judge John Atkins imposed the sentence recommended by a jury that in June found Martin guilty of three counts of murder as well as multiple counts of arson, burglary and tampering with evidence.
Before the sentence was pronounced, one of Martin’s lawyers said justice was not done in the case, which was tried on a change of venue in Hardin County.
Martin, dressed in an orange jail suit, did not address the court. The sentencing was carried on Court TV.
The case attracted national attention when Martin was pulled off a jet at the Louisville airport on May 11, 2019, handcuffed as he was about to take off.
He was still wearing his pilot’s uniform when he was booked on three counts of complicity to murder, arson and other charges.
The attorney general’s office, which tried the case, said Martin on Nov. 18, 2015, fatally shot three of his neighbors, Edward Dansereau and Calvin and Pamela Phillips, a married couple.
Calvin Phillips was found dead in his Pembroke home the next day and the remains of Dansereau and Pamela Phillips were discovered in a burnt vehicle in a field.
Special prosecutors Barbara Whaley and Alex Garcia told the jury that Martin killed Calvin Phillips because he was about to testify in Martin’s military court-martial trial on multiple charges.
The military court eventually convicted Martin on one count of mishandling classified information and one of assault on a child. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and was discharged after 30 years of military service.
The prosecution claimed Danseroux and Phillips’ wife were collateral damage.
“The families and the Pembroke community have endured a profound loss,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron said after the conviction. “While this verdict in no way eases that pain, I hope that they find some peace and comfort today.”
Martin’s attorney, assistant public advocate Tom Griffiths, did not immediately respond to a request for comment after the verdict.
He argued in an opening statement the prosecution’s theory that his client wanted to silence a witness in his court-martial made no sense because Phillips also was set to testify for the defense in the military trial.
The crime went unsolved for years.