Why We’re Fighting for Kit Martin’s Freedom
What would you do if you were falsely accused of a heinous crime like rape, incest or murder with your life hanging in the balance? By the grace of God, most of us will never have to answer that question but to those who find themselves in this hellish nightmare there are few places to turn to.
Our organization has committed itself to helping our brother Christian “Kit” Martin, an Army veteran who was falsely accused (and convicted) of murder by what is in my opinion the biggest travesty of justice that I have ever seen. The trial was the center of attention for Court TV viewers over the first three weeks of June. The overwhelming opinion (69% of the polled viewership) was that the State failed to meet its obligation of proving their case “beyond a reasonable doubt” and that Kit would be acquitted of the charges he faced.
If you’re not familiar with the Martin case I’ll be happy to provide a brief background. An elite Army Ranger and master Army aviator, Maj. Christian "Kit" Martin flew some 1,000 hours of combat missions in Iraq. Today, Kit is fighting the toughest battle of his life while sitting in a county jail awaiting sentencing.
When Kit first contacted NCFM back in 2015, he was on active duty and was initially facing a laundry list of military charges that would have landed him in military prison for a maximum of 10 years if convicted. The charges stemmed from allegations made against him by his ex-wife, a woman named Joan Harmon who had yelled at him in front of Kit’s daughter that “she would destroy his life and his career and knew how to do it” after she was told by Kit that he wanted a divorce from her because of her volatile behavior.
Joan later pleaded guilty in Christian County (Ky.) Court to a felony charge of bigamy -- that is, she admitted to having married Kit Martin without telling him she was still married to another man -- only weeks before a military court at Fort Campbell, Ky., was set to decide Kit’s guilt or innocence. Shortly thereafter, Martin became a "person of interest" to law enforcement officials in the Fort Campbell area after three dead bodies were discovered November 19, 2015 at two different locations not far from his Pembroke, Ky., home. One of the bodies was that of Calvin Lee Phillips, a man who lived across the street from Kit and was set to testify during the aforementioned military trial on Kit’s behalf.
The triple murder case went cold until 2017 when the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office took over the case after talking to the Phillips family. Investigators say it was the Phillips family that provided them with a spent shell casing (that was later traced to Kit’s Glock) and a military-style dog tag that had Kit’s name on it which they “discovered” some five months after the police had processed the crime scene at the Phillips home, that transformed Martin from a person of interest to a suspect.
Christian “Kit” Martin was arrested in 2019 and accused of murdering Edward Dansereau and married couple Calvin and Pamela Phillips on November 18, 2015. The charred remains of Pamela Phillips and Dansereau were found in a burnt car in a field in Pembroke. The car was traced to the Phillips’ home, where investigators found another crime scene – Calvin Phillips dead from multiple gunshot wounds. As mentioned, the triple-slayings occurred just weeks before Calvin Phillips was scheduled to testify in Martin’s military court-martial as a witness for the defense (a witness for Kit).
Kit’s trial lasted three weeks with numerous witnesses called both by the prosecution and by the defense. The State relied largely on circumstantial evidence including neighbors who testified that the Phillips family was fearful of Kit in order to paint the picture that Kit had the “motive, means and opportunity” to murder three people and then sought to cover his tracks by committing arson. The key punchline made by the prosecutor was that because the defendant went to Army Ranger school, the murders appeared to be committed with “military precision”. After presenting their 36 witnesses the State then rested.
The defense then took its turn and started by having expert witnesses report on what they found when they examined the pieces of evidence collected by the police to determine if there was any forensic match to Kit. Here’s where the case took what many court observers including current and former judges and various attorneys’ thought was a dramatic turn in support of Kit being found not guilty:
· In a rather shocking move, the judge hearing the case allowed Joan Harmon and her son Justin Elijah to invoke a 5th amendment right against self-incrimination and not testify in any manner whatsoever at the trial.
· The detective who processed the crime scene testified that he collected the cell phone belonging to murder victim Pam Phillips several weeks after the murders occurred from AT&T. The phone had been in the possession of Joan Harmon following the murders and was wiped clean of its memory. Joan went to the AT & T store to ask them to reset the password. When the store notified her that they were going to keep the phone to give it to the police, Joan immediately left the store. The AT & T store security video confirms Joan Harmon turned in the phone and left swiftly upon hearing that the police were called.
· Blood, hair and swabs taken found the crime scenes could not be linked to Kit.
· Kit’s fiancé and her children indicated that Kit was with them and provided an alibi for Kit’s whereabouts the evening of November 18th which was supported by video evidence taken from Kit’s home security camera.
· State firearms experts could not match the bullet fragments recovered from the victims to any of Kit’s guns.
· Kit’s daughter testified that her stepmother threatened to destroy her dad after he said he wanted a divorce.
· A contractor who remodeled Kit’s house testified he saw Joan Harmon with a gun that looked like a Glock tucked in her waistband.
· A restaurant manager where Joan Harmon worked testified that Joan was happy actually excited about the murders which seemed so odd that the manager called the police.
· A cell phone expert testified that initial claims by law enforcement that Martin’s phone and Pam Phillips phone were traveling in the same direction are in fact wrong.
· The Defense’ firearms expert testified that the bullets that killed Calvin Phillips were likely not fired from the defendant’s (Kit’s) Glock.
So, what would you do if you were a juror? Speaking for myself, I would ask if there was any victims blood found on the defendant’s clothing articles that were tested by the forensic experts. There wasn’t. I would want to know if the defendant’s blood or DNA was found on any of the victims. It wasn’t. I would want to know if any of the hair samples taken from the crime scenes were a positive match to the defendant. They weren’t. I would want to know if the defendant could have been at either of the crime scenes based on his cell phone signal. He wasn’t.
I would want to know if any of the bullet fragments in the victims positively were matched to any of the defendant’s guns based on the forensic analysis. They weren’t. I would want to know if anyone witnessed the defendant entering or leaving the Phillips house and/or property the day and evening at the times that the murders allegedly took place. There wasn’t a single witness. I would want to know who else had access to the shell casing and dog tag that looked suspiciously like they were planted. The defendant’s wife had unlimited access to those kinds of items.
I would ask myself why was Joan Harmon in possession of Pam Phillips cell phone those many weeks after Joan’s death and why did she wipe the cell phone’s memory clean? The answer to this question is unknown as Joan Harmon hid behind the law that protects a person from self-incrimination. Then, I would ask myself given the answers to the above questions, do I have reasonable doubt that the defendant committed these crimes. I think you know the answer to that question.
Remember that Kentucky law requires a jury to convict only if they conclude that the evidence supports a finding beyond a reasonable doubt. Not one iota of forensic evidence was matched to Kit, the alleged killer of not one but three people. Lacking forensic evidence to tie the defendant to the killings is more than sufficient to show reasonable doubt yet incredulously the jury came back with a guilty verdict on all ten charges and then recommended that Kit serve life in prison without parole!
Watching this case play out on live TV with this result is beyond shocking, it’s outrageous. This case clearly illuminates just how messed up our criminal “justice” system is. It is the poster child for injustice. And it is for these (and other) reasons, we are going all in in fighting for Kit’s freedom. #FreeKitMartin