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.

A News4 I-Team investigation found how that serious military convictions, including battery of a child, translated to a different charge in a criminal background check for a man who went on to become an American Airlines pilot.

Christian “Kit” Martin is charged with murder and arson in the deaths of three of his neighbors in Pembroke, KY.

When he was arrested, he was taken into custody at Louisville Muhammad Ali National Airport as he was preparing to ultimately take off on a subsidiary of American Airlines.

A News4 I-Team investigation in 2016 revealed how one of the murder victims, Calvin Phillips, had uncovered information that ultimately led to Kit Martin’s court martial on military charges of child abuse and mishandling military information.

Among the information Phillips gave to the FBI was a photograph of Martin’s stepson that showed him with bruises on his back.

Two weeks before Phillips was to testify in the court martial, he, his wife Pam and their next-door neighbor Ed Dansereau was murdered.

After the murder and before his rescheduled court martial, Martin spoke exclusively with the News4 I-Team.

Martin not only claimed his innocence to the murders but said he did not abuse his step son.

“Child abuse, child molestation, crazy accusations. That's when I said this was getting super insane and hired private investigators,” Martin said.

In the court martial, Martin was ultimately found guilty of military convictions including battery of a minor under the age of 16.

The News4 I-Team consulted with legal experts and found that in most states, including Tennessee, an assault conviction of a minor is a felony.

A review of the types of convictions that will keep an applicant from being a pilot is a felony conviction of aggravated assault.

So how did Martin become a pilot with American Airlines if he was ultimately convicted in a military court of a charge that many states consider a felony?

The answer is that a conviction in a military court can be translated differently in a criminal background check.

It all depends on the state where the court martial is located and how that state ultimately translates the military conviction to a criminal conviction in civilian court, which then appears in a criminal background check.

Although Martin was convicted of battery of a minor in his court martial, the charge showed up in Kentucky as “simple assault” in the criminal background check.

Simple assault is not a felony and did not prevent him from being hired as a pilot.

The News4 I-Team made several calls to the Kentucky State Police and the Commonwealth Attorney in Christian County, KY, but were told the people that could answer our questions about how the charge was translated were not available to talk.

The I-Team will continue to press for answers.

See more on this story here.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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