LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Half the jury thought he was not guilty. That was the word late Tuesday afternoon in the Tai Chan murder trial.
It’s another mistrial for the former Santa Fe County deputy, who is accused of shooting his partner in the back during a hotel room fight.
After only about three-and-a-half hours of deliberating, jurors came back into the courtroom to say they could not agree on a verdict.
It was a disappointing outcome for the family of Santa Fe County Deputy Jeremy Martin, the man former deputy Chan shot and killed in October 2014.
“His four children deserve to be told that the man who shot their father in the back, that there are consequences for that behavior,” Martin’s widow, Sarah Martin, said.
“The District Attorney’s Office has spent hundreds and thousands of tax dollars trying Mr. Chan, and the results this time were even worse than last time,” Chan’s attorney, John Day, said.
Attorneys say the final vote had six jurors deciding on a not guilty verdict. No jurors went for first-degree murder, five went for second-degree murder, and one for voluntary manslaughter.
This is the second trial after a jury last year agreed Chan was guilty in the killing, but couldn’t agree on the charge.
Chan and Martin were at a Las Cruces hotel when the shooting happened, traveling for a prisoner transport.
Prosecutors say Chan argues he fired in self defense after Martin attacked him. Now the big question is, what’s next?
The district attorney says he has about a week to decide if Chan should be tried for a third time.
Chan claimed that Martin took his gun away from him during the scuffle and fired the first shot, before Chan got the gun back from Martin and started firing in self-defense.