Thursday, September 02, 2021

Christian Martin: Ex-pilot gets life sentence in gruesome Kentucky triple murder he insists he didn't do

Christian Richard Martin 
(Image source: Christian County Detention Center)



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.

Whaley told the jury Martin had the motive to kill Calvin Phillips because a conviction in the court-martial could have ended his 30-year military career.

She also said a shell casing found five months after the crime was conclusively shown to have been fired from a .45-caliber handgun found in a safe in Martin’s home across the street. 

Griffiths claimed the shell casing and other damning evidence was mysteriously were missed by police who scoured the home and that it must have been planted there, possibly by Martin’s angry ex-wife, who had vowed to ruin him. 

Piper PA-22-135, N3419A: Accident occurred August 30, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau, Alaska

Location: Soldotna, AK
Accident Number: ANC21LA082
Date & Time: August 30, 2021, 12:47 Local 
Registration: N3419A
Aircraft: Piper PA-22-135
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N3419A
Model/Series: PA-22-135
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PASX,113 ft msl 
Observation Time: 12:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C /7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 20°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Big Lake, AK (BGQ)
Destination: Soldotna, AK

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 60.48,-151.04 (est)

Air Tractor AT-401B, N5081W: Accident occurred September 01, 2021 at Storm Lake Municipal Airport (KSLB), Buena Vista County, Iowa

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa

Bart's Flying Service Inc


Location: Storm Lake, IA 
Accident Number: CEN21LA393
Date & Time: September 1, 2021, 08:32 Local
Registration: N5081W
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT-401B 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AIR TRACTOR INC
Registration: N5081W
Model/Series: AT-401B 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural aircraft (137)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 42.643,95.2019 (est)




A crop duster overturned around 9 a.m. Wednesday attempting to land at Storm Lake Municipal Airport.

A deputy with the Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office said the incident is under investigation. The plane’s owner, Jim Bartholomew of Bart’s Flying Service, said pilot Travis Jacobson walked away uninjured.

“That’s the most important thing,” said Bartholomew, known to nearly everyone locally as Bart.

He said the plane landed on grass when the wheels locked up and skidded into a concrete runway, flipping it.

Bart has nearly five decades of flying experience to his name and comes from a family of aviators. His father was a pilot and he learned the trade in the Air Force. His sons, John and Mike, have their wings and belong to the family business.

Various crashes are not uncommon in the agricultural aviation business. In July, a crop duster was totaled after going down in a field two miles north of Newell. That pilot, Kyle Johnson of Albert City, also avoided injury.

“There’s two kinds of guys,” laughed Mike Bartholomew, who has personally been in one wreck. “Those who’ve crashed and those who are going to.”

“It’s always a surprise when it happens,” said Bart. “But if you go long enough in this, something’s going to happen.”

Bart said he has been in the cockpit for two crashes, the last in 1984 a few miles north of Storm Lake. Four other times the engine died with him in the air, but the ace managed to safely land.

“You never get used to that,” Bart said of the dangerous parts of the job. “When they quit, it puts a lump in your throat real quick.”

Bart said Wednesday’s tumble could have been much worse — for the pilot and the plane — but a quick survey of the damage left him confident everything can be fixed. A crane from Bargloff & Co., was called to assist with turning the plane upright shortly after noon.

“We’ll get it back up on its wheels and into the shop and start dismantling it and looking for other damage,” said Bart, who also manages Storm Lake’s airport. “It’s definitely repairable and we’ll get it back together.”

Beechcraft 58 Baron, N51FD: Incidents occurred September 01, 2021 and March 18, 2015

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

September 01, 2021:  Aircraft landed and gear collapsed at Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (KBHB), Maine

N51FD LLC


Date: 01-SEP-21
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N51FD
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 58
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: BAR HARBOR
State: MAINE

September 01, 2021


TRENTON, Maine — First responders were at the scene of an incident Wednesday afternoon at the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport.

Responders were standing near a small plane with its nose on the runway.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed in a statement Wednesday that “the nose gear of a Beechcraft 58 Baron collapsed after the plane landed at the Hancock County–Bar Harbor Airport in Bar Harbor, Maine, around 1 p.m. local time today.”

The airport is located on Route 3 in Trenton.

Three people were onboard the aircraft, according to the statement. The FAA will investigate the incident.


March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015: Left main gear collapsed on landing at East Hampton Airport (KHTO), Suffolk County, New York.

JJEL LLC


Regis#:  N51FD
Aircraft Make:  BEECH
Aircraft Model:  58
Event Type:  Incident
Highest Injury:  None
Damage:  Unknown
Flight Phase:  LANDING (LDG)

Piper J3C-65, N656CJ: Incident occurred September 01, 2021 in Orlando, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aircraft landed and veered off runway into the grass.


Date: 01-SEP-21
Time: 13:06:00Z
Regis#: N656CJ
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: J3C
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: ORLANDO
State: FLORIDA

Zenith STOL CH701, N705L: Accident occurred September 01, 2021 at Grantsburg Municipal Airport (KGTG), Burnett County, Wisconsin

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota 


Location: Grantsburg, WI
Accident Number: CEN21LA398
Date & Time: September 1, 2021, 15:30 Local
Registration: N705L
Aircraft: SEGARRA LUCAS JR ZENITH STOLL 701
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SEGARRA LUCAS JR
Registration: N705L
Model/Series: ZENITH STOLL 701 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Grantsburg, WI 
Destination: Grantsburg, WI

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 45.774231,-92.680506 (est)

Quad City Challenger II, N1225G: Accident occurred September 01, 2021 near Geneva Municipal Airport (33J), Alabama

National Transportation Safety Board accident number: ERA21LA347 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Alabama and NW Florida

Aircraft experienced engine issues and crashed into an unoccupied building off airport property.


Date: 01-SEP-21
Time: 21:42:00Z
Regis#: N1225G
Aircraft Make: QUAD CITY AIRCRAFT
Aircraft Model: CHALLENGER II
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91
City: GENEVA
State: ALABAMA




GENEVA COUNTY, Alabama (WDHN) — On Thursday, a federal investigative team examined the wreckage of an aircraft that went down east of the Geneva Municipal Airport on Wednesday night.

Geneva County Sheriff Tony Helms says he first received a report of a plane crashing into the Dollar General store at the intersection of State Highways 27 and 85.

But fortunately, the aircraft missed the store by about 50 yards and went down into a nearby barn.

The unnamed pilot from the Dothan area received only cuts and bruises, nothing worse.

The plane is an experimental Quad City Challenger II.

Investigators are working to determine a cause for the mishap.

“Nobody was hurt, the plane had a little bit of damage, and like I say, as far as emergency personnel responded well and quickly to it,” Helms said. “Just glad nobody was hurt.”

Sheriff Helms says the plane going down could have been a real tragedy, but fortunately, neither the pilot nor anyone on the ground was injured.