Tag Archives: surveillance

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.  Thanks in advance!

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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.  Thanks in advance!

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

In a previous report today, I shared an update about the discovery of several dead bodies in Pembroke, Ky., and how Army Criminal Investigation Division agents have made it virtually impossible for Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to obtain a fair trial as he prepares to fight sexual assault charges levied against him by the Army. Below, I share a treasure trove of disturbing, never-before-published details about recent events in the case.

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.

Speaking on condition I not reveal his identity, my confidential source revealed the following:

• Major Martin has a “police dog (not sure what breed)” named “Sarge,” who went ballistic after being awakened around 2 a.m. Thursday. That’s about the same time when, according to one local news report, witnesses told investigators they had heard a noise coming from the area where two badly-burned bodies were found inside a car several hours later.

• Major Martin was working on post early Friday afternoon between 1 and 2 p.m. (Central) when he was picked up by Army Criminal Investigation Command agents who then seized his truck, his papers and his personal computer which, by the way, has served as the “central repository” for his legal defense and contained all of his legal files dating back to Sept. 6, 2013. In short, Army CID agents had access to every piece of paper and file involved in the major’s defense, constituting an incredible breach of attorney-client privilege.

• Photograph evidence exists to show Army prosecutors took files from Major Martin’s home.

• One of the files on Major Martin’s computer is an audio file recorded by the major during a phone conversation between a private investigator hired by the major and a relative of the major’s accuser and ex-wife — yes, the same woman who recently pleaded guilty in Christian County Court Oct. 14 to a felony count of bigamy after it was discovered she was still married to her previous husband at the time she married the major.

• Major Martin was held for 11 hours without food or water in an attempt to break him down after his apprehension by Army CID agents. During that time, Army Major Jacob Bashore, the special victims prosecutor handling the case against the major, reportedly failed to provide honest answers to members of the major’s defense team when, during a nine-hour period Friday, they contacted him repeatedly while in search of information about the major’s whereabouts.

• Major Martin volunteered to provide investigators from the Christian County Sheriff’s Office footage from his home security system’s multiple surveillance cameras that might have recorded events in the neighborhood that evening, but those cameras were removed by Army CID investigators before the sheriff’s officers could access the footage.

In addition to the items highlighted above, my source told told me multiple bodies were found inside the burned-out vehicle, and that was later confirmed by a spokesperson for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office who, according to a news report Monday, said the bodies in the burned-out vehicle were those of Calvin Phillips and his wife, Pam Phillips. The husband and wife lived at the home, across the street and a few doors down from Major Martin’s home, where investigators found the body of another man inside Thursday.  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 my source, the man whose body was found at the Phillips home was a man who lived in the neighborhood and was likely to have been called to testify for the defense during Major Martin’s upcoming military trial, set to begin Dec. 1. See correction above.

The Phillips, too, were expected to be called as witnesses during the trial. Why? Because, as I reported in a previous article, Calvin is the man who stood with the major’s accuser in telling the FBI the major was a thief and an international spy. The “evidence” they turned in to the FBI as allegedly belonging 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.

Though the extremely-serious allegations prompted FBI officials to pass along the information to Army CID investigators, those investigators determined the allegations false after conducting 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.

As things stand now, Major Martin’s military trial is set to begin Dec. 1 at Fort Campbell, Ky., home to the vaunted 101st Airborne Division.

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 updates!

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.  Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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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.  Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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Army Ranger-Aviator Fights Uphill Battle to Prove Innocence as Military Court Denies Vast Majority of Witness Requests

Over the weekend, I shared three new articles about some of the testimony that took place before Col. Andrew Glass at Fort Campbell, Ky., early last week. In short, the military judge heard arguments from attorneys on both sides about whether unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct had surfaced in the prosecution of Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin. Today, I share details about witnesses who were prevented from appearing and ask “Why?”

This graphic tells Maj. Christian "Kit" Martin's story in a nutshell. If justice doesn't prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

This graphic tells Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin’s story in a nutshell. If justice doesn’t prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

First, some background: Major Martin, 47, is an Army Ranger and attack helicopter pilot with a distinguished 29-year military career — including three combat tours in Iraq — under his belt. Soon after telling his “wife” he wanted a divorce, he found himself the target of serious allegations and multiple criminal investigations followed during the next three years. Today, he faces the possibility of 58 years in prison if convicted on the most recent charges stemming from his ex-wife’s allegations of sexual assault and abuse. Because there is much more to it than I can share in one paragraph, I recommend you read the overview article about the case published Sept. 4 before you read any further.

Now, I’ll briefly recap what I shared over the weekend:

• The headline of the first article, Officer’s Accuser Described as ‘Untruthful Since Childhood’, neatly summed up the testimony of a California woman who is the sister of Major Martin’s accuser;

• The headline of the second article, Local Prosecutor Says Fort Campbell Counterparts Tried to Pressure Her to Drop Charge Against Army Officer’s Accuser, did the same; and

• In the third article, Prosecutors Accused of Misconduct, Breach in Controversial Sexual Assault Case Against Army Officer at Fort Campbell, I focused on the testimony of Army lawyers and whether they were being honest with the court.

While important testimony was spotlighted in the articles above, several other witnesses were prevented from testifying during the Article 39A hearing — essentially a pre-trial hearing during which the parties hashed out details in advance of having panel members (i.e., jurors) present. In fact, prosecutors objected to 19 out of 21 witnesses requested by the defense, and only a handful of those witnesses ended up being allowed to testify.

SENIOR OFFICERS DENIED AS WITNESSES

Among those prevented from testifying were Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the recently retired Army chief of staff shown in the center of the graphic above. If you’re thinking he might have been called as a means for the defense to bring in “star power,” think again. Back when Odierno was a mere lieutenant colonel at Fort Lewis, Wash., Martin was a young lieutenant AND his executive officer. In fact, in an officer evaluation, then-LTC Odierno described then-1LT Martin as a “top of the line” officer of “unquestionable integrity.”

Also deemed “off limits” by the court was Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, the man shown at right in the graphic above. A brigadier general (a.k.a., “one-star general”) at the time he made the decision to prosecute Major Martin, he soon earned a second star and a slot as commander of Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. It would have been interesting to hear his take on why he decided to pursue a conviction of Major Martin after investigations by multiple civilian and military agencies had found no substance in any of the accusations against the 29-year Regular Army officer.

In addition, it would have been interesting to hear General Stammer respond to the testimony of Major Martin’s letter-writing sister, Juliet Andes, whose name also appeared on the list of witnesses initially denied by the prosecution. Email evidence shows General Stammer alerted prosecution attorneys about her email within hours of receiving the electronic letter she had written to him. According to Andes, those prosecutors badgered her for days afterward.

I suspect courtroom observers would have salivated over the testimony of LTC Ryan P. O’Connor, a man who served as Major Martin’s brigade commander at the time allegations surfaced. The lieutenant colonel was denied as a witness, defense sources tell me, because he’d conducted his own investigation into the allegations and was known to have been appalled at the poor excuse for military justice he’d seen taking place before his eyes. Since being transferred from Fort Campbell to Fort Hood, Texas, he has steadfastly refused to reply to Major Martin’s investigators’ repeated attempts to contact him. Can’t blame him. He probably wants to safeguard his own career, too.

CIVILIAN PROSECUTOR DENIED AS WITNESS

Initially denied as a defense witness, Katherine (Garber) Foster, the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Attorney for Christian County (a.k.a., “the local civilian prosecutor”), was allowed to testify after she showed up in the courtroom on her own accord. Notably, she told the court Army prosecutors tried to pressure her to drop a bigamy charge against Major Martin’s Accuser. Makes one wonder if military prosecutors feared such prosecution might hurt the credibility of their star witness who, by the way, is set to go on trial Oct. 22 in Hopkinsville, Ky.

MILITARY INVESTIGATORS DENIED AS WITNESSES

Also on the list of witnesses who could have shed light on the weakness of the prosecution’s case are several individuals who investigated the allegations against Major Martin while working for civilian and military agencies.

For instance, it would have been interesting to hear Army Counter-Intelligence investigators testify about their investigation into allegations that Major Martin had been some kind of international spy. They could have told the court several things, including the following:

1) They could have told the court about how cooperative Major Martin had been during their six-month investigation which included surveillance and wiretapping as well as an extensive search of his off-post home;

2) They could have told the court about how the laptop allegedly stolen by Major Martin was inoperable and had been out of the Army inventory for seven years before his accuser and her new male friend, a former Army Supply officer, turned it over to the FBI; and

3) They could have told the court about how Major Martin had passed a three-hour polygraph exam they had administered.

Likewise, it would have been interesting to hear Army Criminal Investigation Command agents testify about how they had confirmed that the man who had fathered the first child of Major Martin’s accuser had, as she had long claimed, been decapitated in a logging accident in Oregon almost 20 years ago. Immediately after CID agents testified, it would have been interesting to see the shocked look on their faces when the reportedly-decapitated man walked into the court-room to testify as told investigators working on Major Martin’s behalf he is willing to do.

Finally, it would have been interesting to hear Military Police investigators explain why, during their investigation of allegations against Major Martin, they refused to accept documents and evidence he tried to deliver to them in an effort to further prove his innocence.

Stay tuned for more details. Meanwhile, be sure to read my other articles about Major Martin’s case.

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