Tag Archives: military judge

Exclusive Interview: Army Officer Fighting Toughest Battle

An elite Army Ranger and master Army aviator, Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin flew some 1,000 hours of combat missions in Iraq. Today, however, the 47-year-old attack helicopter pilot is fighting the toughest battle of his life at home. He shared details of that battle during an exclusive interview Sept. 2. Today, for the first time ever, I share the complete 49-minute version of the interview, complete with on-screen updates.

Major Martin Complete Interview 9-2-15

Click on video below to view Bob McCarty’s 49-minute interview of Army Major Christian “Kit” Martin, complete with on-screen updates.

First, however, some background:  Major Martin faces a laundry list of charges that could land him in prison for a maximum of 10 years if convicted. The charges stem from allegations made against him by his ex-wife, a woman who pleaded guilty in Christian County (Ky.) Court Oct. 14 to a felony charge of bigamy — that is, she admitted to having married Major 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 the major’s guilt or innocence.

The latest: Major Martin became a “person of interest” to law enforcement officials in the Fort Campbell area after several bodies were discovered Nov. 19 at two different locations not far from his Pembroke, Ky., home. One of the bodies was that of Calvin Lee Phillips, 59, a man who lived across the street from the major and was set to testify during the aforementioned military trial. Following an emergency hearing Nov. 24, a military judge ordered the trial, set to begin Dec. 1, delayed indefinitely.

The interview video: Beginning Sept. 4 and continuing through Sept. 7, I shared 11 excerpts from the Sept. 2 interview. Today, for the first time ever, I share the 49-minute, full-length version of the exclusive interview, complete with on-screen updates, below:

To learn more about Major Martin’s case, click here.

To read about other cases of military justice run amok, click here.

Stay tuned for updates as they surface.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:14 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:09 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Nashville’s Fox 17 Omits Key Details From News Reports About Army Officer Caught Up In Murder Investigation

Recent news reports aired on Fox 17 in Nashville might have caused viewers to think Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin is the only “person of interest” to investigators trying to find the person(s) responsible for several dead bodies found Nov. 19 in Pembroke, Ky. Why? Because reporter Sabrina Hall omitted many key details in her rush to inform viewers about events in the small town near Fort Campbell. I know this, because I spoke with her by phone multiple times before her stories aired.

This undated photo shows Maj. Christian "Kit" Martin with his three biological children.

This undated photo shows Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin with his three biological children.

Before I continue this piece, it’s worth noting I wrote much of the information in the paragraphs below with the intent of highlighting only the flaws in Hall’s first report that aired the evening before Thanksgiving. In fact, I had transcribed every word spoken during the report. Then, after organizing it into an article and having it ready to publish it, things changed dramatically and the scope of this report expanded. Now that the turkey and pies are gone, I share this expanded set of observations. 

THE FIRST FLAWED REPORT

Hall’s first flawed report was 86 seconds long and appeared on the station’s website under the headline, Person of Interest in Kentucky Triple Homicide Found on Online Videos.

For reasons I’ll explain later in this piece, that report is no longer visible on the Fox 17 website; therefore, I’ll use word pictures to describe Hall’s report and then leave it up to you to decide if she gave viewers a fair and balanced account of what’s happening in the world of Major Martin, a 47-year-old attack helicopter pilot who served multiple combat tours in Iraq.

The report opened with two images — yellow crime scene tape followed by a closeup of a logo on the driver’s door of a Christian County Sheriff’s Office vehicle — as Hall spoke in voiceover mode: “When it comes to three people being murdered, the Christian County Sheriff’s Department says Major Christian Martin isn’t talking, but Fox 17 did find this online.”

Major Christian "Kit" Martin

Major Christian “Kit” Martin is shown behind his desk at home in this screengrab from a copyrighted Skype interview Sept. 2, 2015.

Next, a short excerpt from a Sept. 2 interview I conducted with Major Martin via Skype appeared. Shown seated behind a desk in his home office, surrounded by military memorabilia and with a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag on the wall behind him, the major said, “They did a secret surveillance on me I didn’t know about for six months.”

Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin stands in front of his AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter in Balad, Iraq, in 2008. Though he’s piloted a many of the U.S. Army’s most-sophisticated attack helicopters, nothing prepared him for his battle with the military justice system.

Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin stands in front of his AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter in Balad, Iraq, in 2008. Though he’s piloted a many of the U.S. Army’s most-sophisticated attack helicopters, nothing prepared him for his battle with the military justice system.

The piece continued with viewers seeing a floating image of the Army officer dressed for battle and standing in front of an AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter in Balad, Iraq. At the same time, Hall’s voice filled the air again, saying, “Here, Major Martin talks about the criminal charges he faces: sexual assault, molesting two children and not properly caring for classified information.”

The report cut back to a clip from the interview, with Major Martin saying, “They gave me a three-hour polygraph. I did not expect it to take that long.”

As I reported Sept. 28, Army investigators conducted an extensive, six-month investigation of the major based on allegations made by his ex-wife and one other person. In turn, they found the allegations completely without merit except for the watered-down charge of “not properly caring for classified information” which still stands against him and is something I’ll discuss in a future article.

Next, the on-screen image cut to the exterior of a home, located across the street from Major Martin’s house. Inside that home, investigators had found the body of Calvin Lee Phillips, 59, Nov. 19. Hall continued in voiceover mode: “According to Major Martin’s own attorney, one of the main witnesses who planned to testify against him is now confirmed dead,” she said very dramatically. “Calvin Phillips, shot to death in his own house. Phillips’ wife and neighbor are still missing, although deputies found two bodies burned up in a car. The Christian County Sheriff’s Department says deputies found evidence at this crime scene, leading a SWAT team to swarm Martin’s house.”

What Hall did not say in her report is that the major’s lead defense attorney, Bill Summers, had as much interest in questioning Phillips as Army prosecutors did. Why? Because Phillips was that “other person” mentioned earlier in this piece — the one who stood alongside the major’s ex-wife in making the long-ago-proven-false allegations of theft and international spying. Heck, Summers even told Hall about this Tuesday, she reported it Tuesday evening, and I mentioned her report in a piece the next day.

Instead of mentioning that detail, Hall cut to a clip of Capt. Chris Miller, a spokesperson for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, saying, “…and we did obtain some evidence out of that home. Can’t say specifically what it is or what it relates to at this point…”

From there, the reporter continued in voiceover mode as short video clips — the first showing a man walking from an SUV in a poorly-lit area and two more showing sheriff’s vehicles — appeared on screen.

“Martin spent four nights locked in Fort Campbell barracks but it now out and back home,” she said. “Detectives say they are working closely with the Army in investigating this case. In these online videos, the major claims his innocence in the charges against him, filed by his ex-wife.”

In reality, Major Martin was not “locked up,” and I had told her as much over the phone. Specifically, I told her what I had been told by Army LTC Chevelle Thomas, a Fort Campbell Public Affairs officer — that is, “Commanders of Fort Campbell have the authority to put administrative limitations (on personnel) within their command.” On top of that, I described his circumstances, for lack of a better phrase, as “house arrest,” and told her the major was not in any kind of a jail cell. Why she opted to use the word “locked” instead? It must have sounded more dramatic to her — or, perhaps, her producer.

As the end of her report neared, Hall cut to the “money shot,” Major Martin behind his desk again, saying, “…and her immediate response was, and I quote, ‘If you divorce me, I will ruin your career. I will ruin your life. I know how to do it.’”

The major’s image remained on screen, his voice fading so that Hall’s could be heard replacing it as she ended her report with the words, “Now, Major Martin has more explaining to do to homicide detectives.”

If it wasn’t so serious a topic, I’d say she sounded like Ricky Ricardo on the old “I Love Lucy” television show, but without the Puerto Rican accent.

Nowhere in Hall’s report did she mention the possibility someone other than Major Martin might have some explaining to do. Among those people is the major’s aforementioned ex-wife, a woman who pleaded guilty in Christian County Court Oct. 14 to a felony charge of bigamy (i.e., she admitted to having married Major Martin without telling him she was still married to another man). Interestingly, this plea came only weeks before the major’s military trial — on the sexual assault allegations she had made — which was scheduled to begin at Fort Campbell. As I reported two days ago, the trial has been ordered delayed indefinitely by a military judge.

And nowhere in Hall’s report did she mention Major Martin’s bigamist ex-wife is, since pleading guilty to the felony count Oct. 14 in Christian County Court, living under judge-imposed travel restrictions, not allowed to travel outside Christian County except to travel to the country where her only legal husband — and father of her second and third child — lives. In addition, she stands to forfeit her $5,000 bond and/or go to jail if she violates those restrictions prior to her sentencing in February.

Though tempted to add details about other omissions by Hall, I’ll save them for future use and wrap things up on the first flawed report.

After watching Hall’s report, I sent her an email message, advising her she had used my excerpts from my copyrighted video without permission. Later, I received a reply in which she asked how much I would charge for use of the video. When I did not reply quickly enough (on the evening before Thanksgiving), she messaged me again to let me know the station would take the video down. And they did, though I later advised her I wouldn’t really charge the station for using the video.

At this point, the report remains off air and, as Martha Stewart might say, “That’s a good thing.”

THE SECOND FLAWED REPORT

The second flawed report, a screenshot of which is shown below in case it, too, disappears from the Fox 17 website, was published Thanksgiving Day under the error-filled headline, Fort Campbell Major Investigated in Pembroke, Ky., Quadruple Murder Investigation.

Screenshot of article on Fox 17 website Nov. 27.

This is a screenshot of an article as it appeared on the Fox 17 website Nov. 27.

Quadruple murder investigation? Fox 17 is the only news outlet to report four murders in relationship to this case. Perhaps, they know more than the rest of us. Needless to say, I won’t waste anyone’s time reporting the content of the video segment that appeared beneath that headline.

Stay tuned for more developments as they occur.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:15 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:10 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Army Officer’s Military Trial Delayed by Military Judge

“MAJ Christian Martin’s General Court Martial has been officially delayed by the military judge as of today.  It has not been re-docketed so there is no new date to report at this time,” wrote Army LTC Chevelle Thomas in an email message I received at 3:22 p.m. Central today.

Major Christian "Kit" Martin is shown at the controls of an AH-64A Apache helicopter in Iraq.

Major Christian “Kit” Martin is shown at the controls of an AH-64A Apache helicopter in Iraq.

The breaking news from Colonel Thomas, a public affairs officer at Fort Campbell, Ky., comes barely four hours after she provided very brief answers to four questions I had asked Monday regarding the upcoming military trial of Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin, a man about whom I’ve written dozens of articles during the past four months.

Does this mean the “wheels of justice” might finally be rolling in Major Martin’s direction? Only time will tell.

In case you missed them, I shared two other pieces about this case earlier today:

• Multiple Bodies Found Near Fort Campbell as Army Officer’s Trial on Sexual Assault Charges Only One Week Away; and

• Is Army Trying to Destroy Officer’s Chance for Fair Trial?

Stay tuned for updates!

UPDATE 11/24/2015 at 4:45 p.m. Central:  I gave WKDZ radio reporter Alan Watts an interview earlier today, and here is the end result:  link to interview.

UPDATE 11/25/2015 at 6:15 a.m. Central: Fox 17 TV in Nashville is on the story with this article published last night. Will post video as soon as I can locate it.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:16 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:11 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

SHOCK: Army Prosecutor Cited Wikipedia as Source During Green Beret’s Court-Martial on Sexual Assault Charges

On Day Two of the Army’s court-martial of one of it’s finest Green Berets, a prosecution attorney cited a suspect source as he questioned Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart about his training. See if you can spot the source in the excerpt from the Record of Trial that appears below:

Click on image above to order book.

Click on image above to order book.

TC: At the SERE course you’re taught how to resist violent captors, is that correct?
Stewart: Again, sir, unless I’m authorized by the SOCEUR Public Affairs Officer, I can’t discuss the training that I received at the SERE-level C School.

TC: You’re taught how to resist torture?
Stewart: Again, sir–

TC: We’re going to go through this, so, that’s fine–
Stewart: No, again, sir, I don’t know what I’m authorized to discuss with you because I’m not the releasing authority of my training.

TC: I got this off of Wikipedia.com.

[Legend: SERE = Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape; TC = Trial Counsel; SOCEUR = Special Operations Command Europe; CDC = Civilian Defense Counsel; and MJ = Military Judge.]

That’s right! He said, “I got this off of Wikipedia.” Unbelievable!

How would you feel if you were found guilty by a court-martial panel (i.e., the military equivalent of a jury) that sided with a prosecutor who cited Wikipedia.com as a source during your cross-examination?

Find out how Stewart feels about his conviction inside my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, which went on sale for the first time just over four years ago.

FYI: I shared the piece above for the first time four years ago today. Since then, I’ve covered many other military justice cases. I hope you’ll read and share this story as well as the others I’ve written and published. Thanks in advance!

Show your support and help keep these articles coming by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same. To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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Civilian Attorney Uses Two-Pronged Approach to Help Army Prosecutors Convict Client’s Ex-‘Spouse’ of Sexual Assault

Sources tell me a Kentucky defense attorney is not only trying to get a local prosecutor disqualified from the case in which her client is set to stand trial Oct. 22 on a charge of bigamy, but she’s also trying to get her client’s trial date pushed back until after a military trial begins at Fort Campbell, Ky. Not surprisingly, her efforts could have a serious impact on that military trial.

Thirty Days of Hell

Click on image above to read “Thirty Days of Hell in the Life of an Accused Army Officer.”

During a pre-trial conference Wednesday, Hopkinsville, Ky., public defender Brandi Jones argued before Christian County Judge Andrew Self that Katherine (Garber) Foster, an assistant county prosecutor, should be disqualified from the case involving her client, because Foster testified during a military hearing Sept. 21-22.

What does Foster’s testimony during a military hearing have to do with her prosecution of a case in civilian court?  For starters, Jones’ client in civilian court is also the woman behind allegations of sexual assault and abuse that could land her “ex-spouse,” Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin, in prison for 58 years* if found guilty during a military trial set to begin Dec. 1.

As explained in an article Sept. 27, Foster offered two salient pieces of testimony during the military hearing held at the post that serves as home to the vaunted 101st Airborne Division:

Foster testified she had been contacted in October and November 2014 by two of the Army attorneys involved in prosecuting Major Martin: Maj. Jacob D. Bashore, the special victims prosecutor who was the subject of my Aug. 27 article, Army Lawyer Surfaces in New Bogus Prosecution Effort; and Capt. James P. Garrett, the lead prosecutor; and

Foster told the court she had felt pressured by both officers to drop her bigamy case against Major Martin’s accuser who, it turns out, appears to have never gotten a divorce from the father of her two youngest children before she married the major.

Despite Foster’s testimony, Col. Andrew Glass, the military judge overseeing Major Martin’s case, denied the defense motion concerning prosecutorial misconduct. A surprise? Hardly. He’s the same judge who denied the vast majority of witness requests made by Major Martin’s attorneys. But I digress.

In addition to seeking Foster’s removal from the case, Jones asked Judge Self to give her additional time to review her client’s case.

Why would Jones ask the judge to delay delivery of swift justice to her client? Because her client, if found guilty prior to Major Martin’s military trial, might be called as a witness during that trial and be forced to wear an orange jumpsuit — or the Kentucky equivalent of that if orange isn’t the Bluegrass State’s color of choice for fashionable incarceration — while on the witness stand.

Would the military judge allow such a spectacle — a witness in an orange jumpsuit — in his court room? Probably not, because everyone knows convicted felons are not considered very trustworthy witnesses, and the leadership at Fort Campbell has a reputation to uphold.

CLOSING NOTE: On Monday afternoon, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Staff Judge Advocate’s office at Fort Campbell. Of course, they were not in the office due to it being a holiday (i.e., Columbus Day). I do hope, however, that they’ll jump on my request today and provide me with the items included in my request. That is, any and all print and/or electronic communications, including, but not limited to handwritten and computer-generated notes, letters, email messages and text messages, between any individual(s) assigned to the Staff Judge Advocate staff at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, including but not limited to Major Bashore, Captain Garrett, Major Jenny S. Whyte-Schlack and any civilian attorney(s) and/or their associates representing Major Martin’s accuser, an alleged bigamist known by several different names, in legal matters in Christian County.

Stay tuned for more details, and thanks in advance for reading and sharing the article above and those to follow. Please show your support of my work by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

*UPDATE: After publishing this article, I learned Army prosecutors agreed to limit any possible punishment in this case to 10 years. A sign they have a weak case?”

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:24 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:12 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.