Moments before boarding a passenger flight on 11 May 2019 as the first officer, pilot Christian "Kit" Martin, a former army ranger, was arrested by a swarm of heavily armed officers for the murders of three of his neighbors. The arrest captured global attention as Martin's mugshot, clad in a pilot's uniform, spread across the internet, sparking a media firestorm with headlines such as "Monster in the Cockpit."
A combat helicopter pilot, Kit Martin had seen his life unravel after seeking a divorce. His wife's threatening words, "If you leave me, I will ruin your life …," overheard by his daughter, seemed to have become a grim reality, escalating to a court-martial and culminating in a high-stakes murder trial at which he was convicted.
I WILL RUIN YOU!: The Twisted Truth Behind the Kit Martin Murder Trial delves into the complex circumstances behind Martin’s story. It looks beyond the sensational headlines and legal turmoil into the heart of this controversial case.
With an investigative journalist’s eye, author Emilio Corsetti III presents the facts of the crime that led to the arrest and the extraordinary lengths used to secure a conviction in this unforgettable true crime page-turner.
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From the Book
Not long after Kit’s call to the Christian County Sheriff’s office and Joan’s 911 call, two police cars showed up at 458 South Main Street in Pembroke, Kentucky. Sergeant Andrew Trafford was first to arrive, followed shortly after by officers Eddie Frye and John Bruce. Alma, whose bedroom faced the street, watched the scene unfold from her bedroom window.
Deputy Frye was barely out of his car when Joan approached and said, “He beat the shit out of me again.” Deputy Frye asked Joan where she had been hit. Joan pointed to her temples and the back of her head. Deputy Frye used his flashlight to examine Joan. When Deputy Frye indicated that he didn’t see any marks, Joan replied that her son was upstairs and that he should talk to him.
Deputy Frye then headed to the back porch, where Sergeant Trafford spoke with Kit. Frye told Sergeant Trafford that he would go inside and question the kids. When Deputy Frye first entered the residence, the first thing that caught his attention was how dark it was inside. He had to use his flashlight to see. McKenzie was the first of the kids to talk to Deputy Frye. She indicated there had been a verbal argument, but she hadn’t seen anything. When Deputy Frye asked where the “boy” was, McKenzie said he was upstairs.
Still using his flashlight to guide him, Officer Frye climbed the steep stairs to the second floor. Both Alma and Elijah met him at the top of the stairs. Frye indicated that he wanted to talk to Elijah. After introducing himself, he asked Elijah to tell him exactly what he had heard and seen. He added that he needed to know one hundred percent what had happened, no matter who was at fault. Elijah said that his dad was upstairs on the couch and that his mom came upstairs and yelled at him. Elijah then emphasized that “he never touched her.” Deputy Frye asked again, “you never saw him hit her?” “No,” Elijah answered. “He did not hit her.”
Tom Griffiths summed up the prosecution’s case against Kit in his opening statement. He talked about how this case differed from any other case he had tried. He said it was different because Kit didn’t do it. He continued with the same theme, explaining how in most cases, there is evidence that you can hold in your hands and analyze. He talked about how police, particularly Detective Scott Smith, looked everywhere for DNA evidence and how every lab report returned negative for Kit’s DNA.
“…excluded, not him,” Tom emphasized as he pointed toward Kit. “That’s what the lab says.”
Unlike Barbara Whaley, who stood still at the podium for the entirety of her opening statement, Tom Griffiths used the entire courtroom. He paced the floor back and forth between the podium and the defense table. He stood before the jury box and talked directly to the jurors. He sometimes strayed in front of the witness stand when he spoke of witnesses who would testify.
Tom told the jurors that the 22-caliber bullets sent to the lab did not match any of Kit’s 22-caliber guns. Likewise, he said the 45-caliber bullet fragments found in the body of Calvin Phillips did not match Kit’s Glock 45. He rattled off a few other types of evidence one might expect in a murder trial.
“Fingerprints? Nope. Statements? Nope. Witnesses? Nope.”
Tom paused to let the lack of evidence sink in.
“Fundamentally, the Commonwealth is asking you to guess,” he said finally.
Shifting away from the lack of evidence, Tom touched on the many forces working against Kit.
“There are folks out there who believe that Kit is guilty, and some of them are going to get up on the witness stand, and they’re going to try and guess in their own way,” Tom said, pointing to the witness stand.
About the Author
Emilio Corsetti III is the author of the bestselling nonfiction books 35 Miles From Shore and Scapegoat. Emilio is a graduate of St. Louis University Parks College of Aviation. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Dallas, Texas.