Dad died over evidence he gave the Army, victim's son says after pilot's arrest in triple homicide

This undated photo provided by the Christian County (Ky.) Detention Center shows Christian R. Martin, a pilot for an American Airlines subsidiary who was arrested Saturday.


By MIKE STUNSON | Lexington Herald-Leader | Published: May 13, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tribune News Service) — A victim in a 2015 triple homicide in Christian County was scheduled to testify against the pilot who was arrested Saturday, the victim’s son told CNN.

Christian “Kip” Martin was taken into custody at the Louisville International Airport Saturday morning before he was scheduled to fly an American Airlines flight to Charlotte, according to WDRB. Martin was charged with three counts of murder, three counts of evidence tampering and one count each of arson, attempted arson and burglary in the deaths of Calvin and Pamela Phillips and Edward Dansereau, whose bodies were found Nov. 18, 2015, in Pembroke.

A May 22 arraignment has been scheduled for Martin, who has been placed in the Christian County Detention Center on no bond, Attorney General Andy Beshear said Monday afternoon.

Calvin and Pamela Phillips’ son, Matt Philips, told CNN his father helped build an Army case against Martin, who had served for 30 years. In May 2016, after the homicides, Martin was found not guilty of sexual and physical assault charges in a court-martial. He was convicted of less severe charges of mishandling classified information and two counts of simple assault.

“He was shamefully kicked out of the military; my father had a lot to do with that,” Matt Phillips told CNN, according to CBS News.

Calvin Phillips and Martin’s former wife, Joan Harmon, had obtained from Martin and turned over to the FBI some photos of a victim and some military discs labeled “secret.,” Matt Phillips said. Those discs reportedly contained classified material.

“He (Calvin Phillips) handed over pictures of a ... sub-16-year-old boy that had been bitten, choked violently, multiple times,” Matt Phillips told CNN, according to WKRN, “He also handed over discs that had classified information and should have never left an army post.”

Martin’s ex-wife, Joan, had a relationship with Calvin Phillips after she and Martin split, his defense team told WKRN Sunday. Mike Conzachi, a private investigator with Martin’s defense, told the station Martin’s “whole world got turned upside down” during his divorce.

Conzachi claimed Phillips was going to testify for the defense before he was murdered.

“After we interviewed Calvin Phillips, it turned out that we had half the story, and the rest of the story made him our star witness,” Defense Attorney Tucker Richardson told WKRN. “If their motive is he killed Calvin Phillips ‘cause he was going to testify in his upcoming court-martial, well that was nothing further (from) the truth.”

Calvin Phillips was found shot to death at his home . Pamela Phillips and neighbor Edward Danserau were found dead nearby in a burned vehicle.

Following the murders, Martin was confined on a post at Fort Campbell for four days after being called a person of interest in the death investigation, according to FOX 17.

He denied any involvement with the murders in a 2016 interview with News 4.

Beshear couldn’t comment Monday on the evidence that led to Martin’s apprehension, but believed “it was hard work and perseverance and being incredible thorough” that led to authorities arresting Martin.

Martin most recently lived in Charlotte, N.C. and has worked for PSA Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, as a Bombardier CRJ first officer since 2018. He has been placed on administrative suspension, the Associated Press reported.

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