The man accused in the 2015 Pembroke triple homicide, Christian Martin, 51, appeared in court Wednesday morning before Judge John Atkins for an adversarial bond hearing where Martin's bond was ultimately set at $3 million.
The defense and prosecution presented testimonies on what amount of bond would be appropriate for Martin, and the judge determined the final amount of bond to set.
Normally, the judge sets the bond in a case shortly after receiving a defendant's indictment. However, Martin never had a bond set, hence the adversarial bond hearing.
Martin was indicted May 10 on three counts of murder, one count of arson, one count of attempted arson, burglary in the first degree and three counts of tampering with physical evidence.
Martin was arrested the morning of May 11 at the Louisville International Airport, with help from the United States Marshals Service, Christian County Sheriff's Office and Louisville Metro Police.
The case was investigated by the Kentucky State Police and the Christian County Sheriff's Office.
The indictment stems from events that occurred on or about Nov. 18, 2015, when Calvin Phillips was found shot to death in his home in Pembroke. The bodies of his wife, Pamela Phillips, and their neighbor, Edward Dansereau, were found a few miles away in a corn field in a burned up car owned by Mrs. Phillips.
According to court documents, Martin allegedly shot and killed Calvin Phillips with a .45 caliber pistol and shot Pamela Phillips and Dansereau with a .22 caliber firearm.
The documents also added that he allegedly set fire to Mrs. Phillips' car while she and Dansereau were inside and attempted to set fire to the Phillips' home with Mr. Phillips' body inside.
The indictment states that Martin is a former military officer, and Calvin Phillips was set to testify against Martin in a military court martial at the time of the murder.
Martin's defense attorney Tom Griffiths presented Christian County Sheriff's Lt. Scott Smith, the lead investigator in the case to discuss the length of the case and how long it took for Martin to be arrested and indicted for the Pembroke murders.
However, as Griffiths began his questioning, objections from Attorney General Special Prosecutor Jeffrey Prather cut his interview short because Prather said Griffiths was getting into the details and evidence of the case and the court was to be deliberating setting a bond rather than evidence.
Following his objections, Prather began his own interview of Smith, which revealed that Martin allegedly created multiple Facebook accounts with different aliases and had cell phones and email addresses under several different names.
Smith also alleged that he had retrieved phone call transcripts between Martin and his family, where Martin asked them to set up a P.O. box in California under a name other than his own.
After Prather concluded his interview, Atkins gave both parties an opportunity to argue what Martin should receive as a bond amount.
Prather referenced another Kentucky case where a woman allegedly murdered her husband and received $1 million bond.
Prather suggested that based on that case, Martin should receive $1 million bond on each charge of murder, equating to $3 million.
"In this case, we have a defendant charged with murder of three individuals, has no ties to the community, has a pilot's license -- he can fly, literally, away from the jurisdiction of this court -- he's currently not employed, has a criminal history, was criminally discharged from the military for the assault of an adolescent, has a history of trying to establish aliases and pseudonyms," Prather said.
"We believe in this case, given the three murders in the case and if we take the (precedent) case as a benchmark, $3 million is an appropriate bond, especially considering all the other factors."
Griffiths argued that a $3 million bond in this case was "preposterous." He argued that while trying to live his life over the past four years before he was arrested, he had never had any restrictions regarding his location or any rules that he had to follow as if he were out on bond.
During that time, Griffiths argued, Martin kept a job under his real name, stayed out of legal trouble and made his presence publicly known while working and living his life.
"I understand that the court may be reluctant to set a low bond, but we're not asking to set a low bond," Griffiths said. "We understand that there may be conditions. I discussed with Martin that he may have conditions and he will comply with any rules set by the court.
"We would ask the court to set a bond of $500,000. We believe that is appropriate -- it's a large amount of money. We're asking the court to set a reasonable bond in this case that is appropriate given the charges and lack of criminal record."
Atkins ultimately agreed with the commonwealth and set the bond at $3 million.
The commonwealth also shared with the court that they have several pieces of hair as evidence that they plan to test for DNA. However, after being tested, those hairs would be destroyed posing a potential problem for the defense.
Griffiths explained that he and the commonwealth had come to an agreement to allow the DNA testing of those hairs as long as the defense has their own expert present during the testing.
With the DNA testing likely to take at least six months, the commonwealth said they were reluctant to schedule a trial date being that they would likely have to move it anyway, following the testing.
With that, Atkins scheduled Martin for another pretrial conference slated for April 15.
In other court news
The suspect accused in the shooting of a man on Greenville Road in June appeared in Judge John Atkins' courtroom Wednesday morning for a pretrial conference where her defense attorney asked to receive additional copies evidence for the defendant so that they may move forward in the case.
Anshanique Leavell, 19, and her attorney Michael Thompson, shared with the court that it would be beneficial for Leavell to receive her own copy of the evidence to strengthen their case.
Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Boling shared that he isn't opposed to Leavell receiving a copy, but is worried that should information regarding witnesses in the case get out in the public, it would put those witnesses in danger.
Atkins agreed with Boling's concerned and decided that Leavell would receive a copy, but she would not be allowed to share it with anyone.
Atkins then scheduled Leavell for another pretrial conference Dec. 4.
Leavell is charged in the shooting death of Amareya' K. Freeman, 23, Hopkinsville, earlier this summer.
According to New Era archives and Hopkinsville police reports, Freeman was found unresponsive after officers were dispatched to the 1800 block of Greenville Road around midnight June 6. Freeman had a gunshot wound in his chest and was later pronounced dead at Jennie Stuart Medical Center.
Shortly after, officers came in contact with Leavell, who allegedly said in an interview with officers that she shot him. The report states Leavell also had a stolen handgun.
She is charged with murder and receiving stolen property and murder.
Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra