The attorney defending the former American Airlines pilot charged with triple homicide said the Kentucky State Police destroyed and mishandled key evidence. 

The claim was made in a preliminary hearing Thursday for Kit Martin, who is charged with several crimes, including murder and arson, in the deaths of his three former neighbors, Cal and Pam Phillips and Ed Dansereau. 

News4 Investigates first exposed the links between Martin and the three victims, including the fact that Cal Phillips was set to testify in Martin’s court martial before he was murdered.

At the preliminary hearing, Tom Griffiths, Martin’s attorney, said that in his opinion, evidence from Pam Phillips’ burned car, in which she and Dansereau’s bodies were found inside, were ultimately not preserved correctly by the Kentucky State Police. 

“Some of the materials were stored – evidently incorrectly – which is part of the reason why – and unfortunately, I guess, destroyed, or rendered untestable,” Griffiths said.  

He went on to say that he believes the KSP didn’t have an actual arson expert investigate the materials, and is no longer seeking an expert to testify about it. 

Our calls and emails to the Kentucky State Police were not returned by our deadline. 

In the hearing, Alex Garcia, prosecutor with the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, did not elaborate on what happened. 

“The reason behind those tests has been discussed in discovery between email exchanges between the lab technicians and the detectives. That's been explained in the discovery that has been provided. I’m not sure what more Mr. Griffiths is looking for,” Garcia said. 

News4 Investigates later reached Garcia by phone for further explanation of what happened to the evidence, and he indicated someone from his office would be calling back. We are still waiting for that call. 

Griffiths also claimed that another key piece of evidence – hair from Dansereau’s car – was determined not to be Martin’s. 

“The tests came back negative, so that our client is not implicated in those results,” Griffiths said. 

Griffiths told News4 Investigates after the hearing that he’s filed court documents in which his expert casts doubt on whether or not Martin’s gun was used in the crime. 

The judge in the case did agree, because of pretrial publicity, that the trail should be moved to Hardin County, Kentucky, and scheduled it to begin on May 31, 2021. 

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Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

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