Attorneys file motion to drop case against man accused in fellow deputy’s murder

Tai Chan
Tai Chan

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – The defense for a former Santa Fe County deputy charged in the murder of his partner is asking a judge to dismiss charges.

Tai Chan shot and killed Jeremy Martin in a Las Cruces hotel in October 2014. Chan claims it was self-defense.

Chan’s first trial ended with a hung jury. He is scheduled to be retried on May 8.

However, Chan’s attorneys have recently called into question the validity and the legitimacy of the investigation by the Las Cruces Police Department.

Chan’s attorney, John Day, filed a motion on Wednesday, asking a judge to drop the indictment for “outrageous government conduct.”

“They can’t keep information that may relate to the case secret,” Day said.

But he said the state tried, claiming a defense expert found a secret file on Martin’s cell phone with sexually suggestive texts and pictures of Martin wearing women’s undergarments that he was sending leading up to the shooting.

“The people he was sending the text messages to, they could have had information about what was taking place leading up to the incident,” Day said.

However, Day said he doesn’t know if it’s related to what Martin and Chan were arguing about before the shooting.

Martin’s brother told KRQE News 13 that the defense blaming the victim is shameful, saying the claim about Martin’s “secret life” is ludicrous.

The District Attorney’s Office said it would only respond in court.

But the defense is already trying to use District Attorney Mark D’Antonio’s own words against him.

Day cites a letter the DA sent last week to the Las Cruces Police chief, which refers to a lawsuit the lead detective on the Chan case filed against the city, suggesting police corruption and an obstruction of justice.

“This investigation is so tainted, so rotten from the start,” Day said.

The defense said animosity between the DA’s office and LCPD has “pitted Chan in the crossfire of these entities.”

“All of a sudden the District Attorney himself has become a witness, and our position is that he has to be disqualified and it has to be handed off to a different agency to prosecute.”

If a judge sides with the defense and takes the Dona Ana County DA off the case, it could delay the trial.

Day said another District Attorney, a special prosecutor, or the Attorney General’s Office could then step in.

Day also wrote to the Department of Justice to investigate LCPD corruption.

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