The 2015 Pembroke triple murder trial continued in Hardin County against Christian “Kit” Martin Tuesday as several more witnesses were called to the stand by the commonwealth, including the Spencer family.
Video footage from the security system of Martin’s home was also introduced to the jury and placed into trial evidence.
Martin, 52, is accused of killing Calvin and Pamela Phillips as well as their neighbor Edward Dansereau, and burning two of the bodies.
Martin appeared in Hardin County court in front of Christian Circuit Judge John Atkins along with his defense attorneys Tom Griffiths, Doug Moore and Olivia Adams as the prosecution continued to make its case.
The Spencer family takes the stand to testify
Attorney General Special Prosecutor Alex Garcia began the trial Tuesday morning by calling the Spencer family, including Martin’s fiance Laura Spencer and her two children Emma and Austin Spencer. All three were living with Martin in his home at the time the murders occurred in November, 2015.
All three Spencers testified that they had gotten into a regular routine while living at Martin’s home as Austin and Emma were attending Heritage Christian Academy, Laura Spencer worked as a nurse and an adjunct professor at Austin Peay State University and Martin continued to work as a member of the U.S. Army on Fort Campbell.
All three also testified that on the day of the triple murder, Nov. 18, 2015, nothing had been out of the ordinary for them as they followed their regular routine.
The three Spencers explained to the jury during their interviews by the commonwealth that they had left the home at their usual times and arrived back at the home when they normally would.
Emma Spencer testified that after arriving home for the night after 8 p.m., she went to her room and used her cell phone until she got ready for bed.
Austin Spencer testified that after he had arrived home at the same time as Emma, he sat in the den with his mother and Martin as they sat together and watched TV for roughly 20 minutes before he went to his bedroom and used his cell phone until he went to sleep late that night.
Laura testified that Nov. 17 was her and Martin’s anniversary, but the couple weren’t able to celebrate it that day. So, on Nov. 18, after both had arrived home, Laura stated that Martin had brought her flowers, the two had dinner at home and then had a quiet watching TV in the den.
All three Spencers also testified during cross examination that Martin’s home is old, loud and creaky and would typically be able to hear movement throughout the home as well as when anyone would leave the house.
Laura Spencer added in her testimony that she is a very light sleeper and would have woken up immediately had Martin attempted to sneak out of the home while she and the others slept. She also testified that she did not see Martin attempt to sneak out of the home the night of Nov. 18.
They also confirmed to the defense that the front door of the home had never been used throughout the entirety of them living at the home and testified that the front door had not been usable. All three stated that anyone entering or leaving the home would always use the back door.
Austin and Laura Spencer also both testified that the home was heated during the winter by a kerosene heater that Austin and Martin had always tended to. However, Austin testified that he would only refill the heater with kerosene while Martin was the only person who turn it on for the family.
The Spencer family were also called to testify about what they could recall happening on Nov. 20, 2015, which was the day Martin’s home was raided by the Hopkinsville Police Department SWAT team along with the Christian County Sheriff’s Office Deputies.
Austin and Emma Spencer recalled being told to not come home while they were still at school that day. Austin Spencer testified that he took his sister and went to his girlfriend’s home at the time.
Laura testified that on Nov. 20 she had the day off and was home alone while SWAT raided the home.
In yesterday’s trial, CCSO Detective Noisworthy testified that he and the other investigators in the case agreed to raid the home with the SWAT team despite knowing Martin was on Fort Campbell and was detained by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Laura Spencer testified being scared for her life when the SWAT raided their home.
“I heard a window break downstairs, I heard man yelling through the window, I couldn’t understand a word that he said and in a moment of panic, I pick up my phone, called 911 and ran out of the house in my bare feet,” Laura Spencer said in the trial.
“I ran out of the house out of the backdoor and there were five policemen pointing rifles at my head yelling at me to put my phone down.”
Laura Spencer continued to share that she was never even able to go back into the home to get shoes that day.
She also testified that the Spencer family, along with Martin, never spent another day in that home and for two weeks they lived in hotels, staying for no more than three nights at a time.
“I was terrified,” Laura Spencer said as to why they had moved around from hotel to hotel.
“I felt like somebody had come to kill me to punish Kit (Martin).”
Adams asked Laura Spencer in response to that statement, “When you say ‘somebody,’ who do you mean?”
“Joan Harmon,” Laura Spencer said.
Several witnesses testify regarding the Phillips fearing Martin would hurt them
Several witnesses were called to the stand by the commonwealth Tuesday to testify to the jury that they were told by the Phillips of fears they had of Martin.
The commonwealth called Steven Durham Jr., Steven Bollinger and Penny Casey, who were all friends of the Phillips family.
Durham and Bollinger both testified that they frequently spoke with Calvin Phillips and in the days leading up to his murder, Calvin told him that he feared what Martin might to do to him and that if he is killed or turns up missing, to look into Martin.
Casey, who was a coworker with Pamela Phillips at Heritage Bank and a close friend, testified that on Nov. 15, Pamela told her that her and Calvin feared leaving their home at different times of each other in fear that they would return home to Martin waiting for them.
During each of their testimonies, the defense objected to hearsay evidence, but Atkins elected to overrule the objections.
Witness testifies to seeing Martin on Rosetown Road prior to the murders
Towards the end of the trial Tuesday, the commonwealth called a witness who claimed to have seen Martin in the area of Rosetown Road in close proximity to where the burnt vehicle was found, roughly five days prior to the murders.
James C. Matlock took the stand and explained to the jury that he is a farmer and owns land on the other side of a tree that separated his land from the land where the burny vehicle was found just off of Rosetown Road.
Matlock testified on the Saturday before the murders, which would have made that day Nov. 14, Matlock was at the end of his property line when he allegedly observed Martin walking his dog in the tree line next to the same gravel road the burnt car was found.
During cross examination of Matlock, Matlock confirmed to Griffiths that Matlock did not come forward to law enforcement with this information until March, 2021, six years after the murders occurred in 2015.
Griffiths questioned why Matlock did not come forward sooner, to which Matlock stated that the only reason he came forward was because someone had contacted him and that at the time he allegedly saw Martin, he did not know if the two occurrences were connected.
Lt. Scott Smith recalled to review video footage
Lt. Scott Smith, who was the Kentucky State Police lead detective on the case at the time of the murders, took the stand again Tuesday to review footage he obtained from the surveillance system of Martin’s home.
He testified as he reviewed footage that Martin could be seen entering the back porch of his through his backyard instead of his driveway at around 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, but footage was never shown of him leaving the home prior to his arrival.
Smith also reviewed footage that showed Martin leaving and reentering his home through the back porch area several times between 11:43 and 11:45 p.m. that night.
Smith’s testimony and review of the footage concluded the trial on Tuesday.
The trial is scheduled to continue at 8 a.m. Central Time Wednesday.
Martin is being tried for the triple murder of Calvin Phillips, Pamela Phillips and Edward Danseruea in Pembroke on Nov. 18, 2015.
According to New Era archives, Martin allegedly shot and killed Calvin Phillips with a .45 caliber pistol and shot Pamela Phillips and Dansereau with a .22 caliber firearm.
Court documents also state that Martin allegedly set fire to Mrs. Phillips’ car while she and Edward Dansereau were inside and attempted to set fire to the Phillips’ home with Mr. Phillips’ body inside.
Martin is charged with three counts of murder, two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of first-degree arson and three counts of tampering with physical evidence.
Martin’s indictments allege that Martin acted “alone or in complicity with others or another.”