Tag Archives: public affairs

Officials Identify Gunshot Victim Found Inside Home While Facebook Comments About Case Appear and Disappear

Two important developments related to the military justice case of Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin surfaced during the past 24 hours. Chief among them is that Christian County (Ky.) Sheriff’s Office and Coroner’s Office officials released information about the identity of a shooting victim whose body was found Thursday afternoon inside a home at 443 South Main Street in Pembroke, Ky.

Contrary to what I reported in two earlier articles (here and here) and later corrected, WKDZ Radio reported this morning the Christian County officials said autopsy determined Calvin Lee Phillips, 59, died from several gunshot wounds to his upper body. They also reported they have yet to determine the identities of the victims found inside a burned-out vehicle earlier the same day. CCSO Captain Chris Miller said authorities will rely on DNA testing by the medical examiners office to help them identify those victims, with results expected within the next few weeks.

These bits of news come one day after several other developments took place.

On Tuesday morning, I received word from Fort Campbell Public Affairs Officer LTC Chevelle Thomas that the military judge handling Major Martin’s case had decided to delay the beginning of his military trial, moving it from Dec. 1 to an as-yet-undetermined future date

On Tuesday evening, Nashville’s Fox 17 television interviewed Bill Summers, Major Martin’s lead defense attorney. He told them Major Martin had been released after being held in barracks on the Army post since Friday while his off-post home was searched for clues in connection with the three bodies found in Pembroke Thursday.

DISAPPEARING FACEBOOK COMMENTS

Also Tuesday evening, two comments were posted below an article on the WKDZ Facebook page before later being removed either by someone at WKDZ or by the posters themselves — but not before I was able to obtain screenshots of the comments. Interestingly, the comments appeared beneath two names. FYI: I asked officials at WKDZ who was responsible for the comments being removed (i.e., station staff or Facebook users) and will post an update as soon as I receive an answer to that question yet.

Graphic above shows the two disappearing Facebook comments (redacted).

Graphic above shows the two disappearing Facebook comments (redacted).

One of the comments was made by someone with access to the Facebook account belonging to  Major Martin’s ex-wife, a woman who pleaded guilty in Christian County Court Oct. 14 to one felony count of bigamy (i.e., she admitted in court to having married Major Martin without telling him she was still married to another man) only weeks before the major’s military trial on sexual assault allegations she had made was scheduled to begin at Fort Campbell. Most interesting, she wrote, “One of the main witnesses scheduled to testify against this man in an upcoming court martial on december 1st is now presumed murdered, just a couple weeks before trial. Now this man is telling lies about his victims in an attempt to discredit them before court.” Interesting words coming from a convicted felon whose crime was rooted in deception.

The other comment was made by someone with access to the Facebook account of the oldest child of Major Martin’s bigamist ex-wife/accuser and the biological son of a man in Oregon who is scheduled to testify during Major Martin’s military trial. He’s also the man who expressed surprise when investigators hired by Major Martin tracked him down and told him that the mother of his child had, for almost two decades, been telling people he had been decapitated in a logging accident. For more details, read my Sept. 20 piece, Reportedly Decapitated in Logging Accident Almost 19 Years Ago, Man Ready to Testify on Behalf of Accused Army Officer. Included in his hard-to-read comments was the claim that the major “stole a government laptop and secret classified info” and “He is telling lies about his victims while in custody for a murder investigation! this guy is crazy. He needs to be in prison.”

Though I seriously doubt a teenager was at the keyboard posting the comment, it’s worth noting the claims about theft and spying — reportedly made by his mother and Phillips, the man who was found dead inside his home Thursday — were, as I first reported in an article Sept. 28, proven to be without merit by Army investigators who conducted an extensive, six-month investigation of Major Martin. That investigation included surveillance and wiretapping as well as an extensive search of his Pembroke home and lengthy interrogation sessions. As far as I can tell, the only thing accurate in the comments is that someone is crazy and needs to be in prison, but I don’t think it’s the highly-decorated Army officer.

Also worth noting as a recent event (shown in the video above) is that Major Martin’s lead defense attorney, Bill Summers, confirmed “Calvin Phillips was a witness. He was on our witness list and he was a witness on the governments witness list” during an interview with Sabrina Hall of Nashville’s Fox 17 television.

Do these new details change much in terms of the Army’s case against Major Martin? That’s hard to say, but they certainly confirm a few things in this reporter’s mind.

Stay tuned for more developments as they occur.

UPDATE 12/2/2015 at 9:51 a.m. Central: Because I have them, I decided to insert the graphic that shows the two disappearing Facebook comments.

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 11:10 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!

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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!

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

It would be an understatement of epic proportions to say only that things have gotten more interesting since I published the first of more than three-dozen articles related to the efforts of Army’s efforts to prosecute Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin, 47, on sexual assault allegations. Why? Because so much more, including several mysterious deaths, has happened since then.

According to a local news report published early Thursday afternoon and updated some 27 hours later, human remains were found in two separate locations in Christian County, Ky., early Thursday morning and people began speculating as to whether or not a connection exists between the prosecution of Major Martin and the individuals found dead.

In another local news report today, a spokesman for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the remains found inside a burned-out vehicle off Rosetown Road on the outskirts of the town of Pembroke, Ky., were those of Calvin and Pam Phillips. Correction: I misread the news report cited earlier in this paragraph (i.e., Miller says investigators have still not positively identified the body of the male victim found inside the home of Calvin and Pam Phillips at 443 South Main Street in Pembroke. A new news report confirms Calvin Phillips’ body was found inside his home on Main Street.)

According to the first news report, local law enforcement officials traced the burned-out car to the Phillips’ home at 443 South Main Street in Pembroke, a town located about 30 minutes north-northeast of Fort Campbell, Ky., home to the vaunted 101st Airborne Division. Soon after, they visited that home and found the body of another person — identified only as a man to date — who appeared to have suffered a gunshot wound to his chest. See correction above.

Perhaps of interest to anyone following the case is the fact Major Martin lives only a few doors down and across the street from the Phillips home. In addition, Calvin Phillips is the man who stood with the major’s accuser and ex-“spouse,” in telling the FBI the major was a thief and an international spy. FYI: I placed the word, spouse, in quotes, because she pleaded guilty in Christian County Court Oct. 14 to one felony count of bigamy (i.e., she admitted in court to having married Major Martin without telling him she was still married to another man). The “evidence” the pair turned in to the FBI — as allegedly having belonged to Major Martin — consisted of an inoperable laptop computer that turned out to have been out of the Army’s inventory for seven years and several compact discs upon which had been scrawled words intended to indicate the CDs contained classified information.

Not surprisingly, the extremely-serious allegations prompted FBI officials to pass along the information to investigators at Army Criminal Investigation Command. Those officials, in turn, conducted an extensive six-month investigation which, unbeknownst to Major Martin as it was taking place, included surveillance and wiretapping as well as an extensive search of his off-post home. In the end, the allegations were proven to be false.

TIPS RECEIVED

After news broke about the bodies being found in Christian County, I was contacted by an individual at Fort Campbell who, having read my series of articles about Major Martin, informed me the major had been arrested Friday by “CID agents with guns drawn.”

In my effort to confirm whether or not Major Martin had, indeed, been arrested, I fired off the inquiry below to Army LTC Chevelle Thomas, a public affairs officer at Fort Campbell, early Monday afternoon:

Colonel Thomas:

I’d like answers ASAP to the following questions regarding Maj. Christian R. “Kit” Martin, a Soldier assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell:

1. Is Major Martin under some sort of confinement or “house arrest” at Fort Campbell? If so, please provide details about his current status, the reason(s) for it and the anticipated duration of such confinement.

2. Did investigators with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division staff at Fort Campbell participate in a search of Major Martin’s off-post home at any time during or since Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015? If so, please describe the reason for CID conducting a search of the major’s residence and their legal justification for the same?

3. Do CID investigators at Fort Campbell consider Major Martin a suspect in any recent off-post deaths, including one at a home in his neighborhood, reported over the weekend? If so, why?

4. Do Army officials plan to move forward with plans to conduct a military trial Dec. 1 with Major Martin as a defendant even though his accuser recently pleaded guilty to one felony count of bigamy in Christian County Court?

I was also contacted by another individual who, after requesting anonymity, told me CID agents joined local law enforcement investigators barely 90 minutes after they had begun searching the Phillips home and remained on scene there, and at the nearby house belonging to the major, as it was searched.

These observations appeared to be confirmed in the second news report which cited a Christian County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson as saying the investigations into the deaths remain in the hands of the Christian County Sheriff and Kentucky State Police, with some assistance from Fort Campbell.

While I wait for a response from Colonel Thomas at Fort Campbell, I point readers to more than three-dozen articles I’ve written during the past four months. They are about Major Martin’s case exclusively or about military justice cases in general. Eleven feature excerpts from a video interview I conducted with Major Martin, a highly-decorated attack helicopter pilot and combat veteran. Others tackle the issues of prosecutorial misconductunlawful command influence and the appearance that many Army officers seem bent on convicting a 29-year veteran despite knowing the allegations were made by a woman who’s life history reveals a pattern of deceit and betrayal.

In my next article, I’ll share many previously-unpublished details about the case that were shared with me by a confidential source close to the investigation. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: See also Is Army Trying to Destroy Officer’s Chance for Fair Trial?

UPDATE #2 11/24/2015 at 9:34 a.m. Central: At 9:10 a.m. today, I received the less-than-forthcoming reply (see below) from Colonel Thomas to my four questions submitted yesterday:

Sir,

Commanders of Fort Campbell have the authority to put administrative limitations within their command.  MAJ Christian Martin is currently pending a General Court Martial for 1-5 Dec 2015 time period. There have been no changes to the docket at this time.

Please refer to the Kentucky State Police Department or the Christian County Police Department for the other questions.

UPDATE #3 11/24/2015 at 4:12 p.m. Central: Approximately 40 minutes ago, I received an update from Colonel Thomas at Fort Campbell. She wrote, “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.” Does this mean the “wheels of justice” might finally be rolling in Major Martin’s direction? Only time will tell.

UPDATE #4 11/25/2015 at 8:59 a.m. Central: I posted a correction in the third paragraph above. It appears in red.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:17 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.

Stay tuned for more!

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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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:

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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.

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Is Accuser’s Facebook Update Riddled With Inaccuracies?

After reading my recent article about Michael Silva’s request for clemency, a friend of Silva’s shared what appears to be damning observations about the allegations that landed the former Air Force military training instructor behind bars for 20 years, convicted of multiple sex crimes.

Alleged Facebook status update posted by Michael Silva's accuser Sept. 4, 2012.

According to MSgt. Lisa Chloros, USAF Ret., this is a screenshot she captured of a Facebook status update posted by Michael Silva’s accuser Sept. 4, 2012.

“What is interesting is these ‘alleged’ victims don’t realize that, when they lie about things like rape and life in general, they will be found, especially in social media,” wrote MSgt. Lisa Chloros, USAF Ret., in a comment on my Facebook page Tuesday. Via Facebook message earlier today, she noted her findings date back as far as 2009 and include many social media postings. In addition, she asked me to make it clear she is aiming her comments only at those engaged in the business of making false allegations.

One of those things, she explained, was a status update posted by Silva’s accuser on her Facebook page Sept. 4, 2012. The text of that update appears below with only minor modifications for clarity while the photo above shows her exact words:

“The person who sexually assaulted me was my training instructor. When I reported it to a doctor at Wilford Hall Medical Center because I realized the flashbacks I was having were causing me to blackout. I told him I just needed him to tell me how to stop passing out after flashbacks because I couldn’t risk my career! He looked straight at me and said we aren’t going to talk about that. I was discharged for migraines, which the doctor admitted to me I didn’t meet the criteria for that diagnosis but he would recommend discharge because I wasn’t going to ruin his career. My training instructor literally stalked me until discharge. The last thing he said to me is “Are you going back to your home of record?” I stayed home for Christmas and moved away. For years, it’s affected my life. I didn’t tell anyone for many reasons after being discharged. I’ve been working on this issue to be taken care of. I recently found a promotion list. He is now a chief master sergeant and stationed a few hours from me. It’s taking senators to stop him now! Thanks to help at the VA, I’m doing much better. They changed a diagnosis a civilian doctor gave me of bipolar disorder, realizing my symptoms were from military sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder. Nightly nightmares, anxiety attacks, flashbacks and sleep deprivation is devastating to a person. Thank You God for giving me the strength to do what I said I would do the night it happened, that is not let him win and one day see that he ends up in Fort Leavenworth. Please let everything myself and those backing me be successful in holding him responsible for his actions.”

Below, I break out four items Sergeant Chloros gleaned from that Facebook status update:

1) Silva’s accuser claims the person who sexually assaulted her is now a chief master sergeant. Silva, however, was a master sergeant (i.e., two ranks lower than chief) who had been selected for promotion to senior master sergeant (one rank lower than chief) and was not allowed to put on that rank due to the allegations she had made against him.

2) Silva’s accuser claims she recently found a promotion list, implying his name was on it. The newest promotion list at the time of her Facebook posting, the December 2011 yearly Air Force chief master sergeant promotion list, did not list anyone with the last name, Silva, and Michael Silva’s name didn’t appear on any promotion list until Feb. 28, 2013 — over five months after his accuser had posted her status update.

3) Silva’s accuser claimed (Silva) was “stationed a few hours from me,” despite the facts she was living in the Pacific Northwest and he was living in San Antonio and had been living there since 2009.

4) The military doctor Silva’s accuser claims she contacted is now a civilian physician who lives and works in California. He testified during Silva’s trial in January that no female basic trainee ever reported to him that she had been raped and, if one had made such a report, he would have reported it immediately.

“I just discredited her whole story with her own words,” Sergeant Chloros said, by simply analyzing one Facebook status update.

According to Sergeant Chloros, some aspects of the accuser’s social media activity were presented during trial, but many more were only discovered after the trial. That in mind, I reached out to Joseph A. Esparza, the San Antonio-based civilian defense attorney who helped represent Silva, ans asked him if any arguments were made concerning Facebook status updates posted by Silva’s accuser in September 2012 that appear to conflict with her trial testimony. When I receive an answer to my question, I’ll share it in an update.

If, based upon the details highlighted above and in the previous article, you believe Silva deserves some form of clemency, I encourage you to reach out to Maj. Gen. Mark A. Brown, 2nd Air Force commander, who is the convening authority (a.k.a., “the decision-maker in the case). All three of the men listed below are worthy contacting with your concerns:

MAJOR GENERAL MARK A. BROWN <– Update: He is the convening authority!
2nd Air Force
Keesler AFB, MS
Email: mark.brown@us.af.mil

BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBERT D. LABRUTTA
c/o 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
2080 Wilson Road
JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-5004
Phone: (210) 671-2907
Email: usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.fsh-public-affairs-office@mail.mil

LIEUTENANT GENERAL DARRYL ROBERSON
Air Education and Training Command
1 F Street, Suite 1
JBSA Randolph TX 78150-4324
Phone: (210) 652-5224
Email: darryl.roberson@us.af.mil

Thanks in advance for reading and sharing the article above and those to follow, and 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.

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