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Tai Chan testifies in retrial; final arguments continue Tuesday

Tai Chan on the stand in court on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Credit: KRQE) Chan is accused of shooting and killing fellow deputy Jeremy Martin at Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces in October 2014.

Tai Chan, the former Santa Fe County deputy accused of killing his partner at a Las Cruces hotel in 2014, testified in court Friday.

Chan was on the stand for several hours.

He said he shot fellow deputy Jeremy Martin in self defense. "He tried to kill me. I was fighting for my life," Chan said.

Chan said he and Martin went out for dinner and drinks that night in October 2014.

Chan said they had fun and later met up with some of Chan’s friends.

He said Martin got angry at him for a comment he made at the bar.

When they returned to hotel room, Chan said, Martin became violent and hit him and punched him.

Chan said he went outside and then Martin came and found him and attempted to "make up."

But Chan says he was in the bathroom when Martin knocked on the door.

Chan says when he came out, he saw that Martin had a handgun, and Martin said, "I'm going to shoot you."

He said he tried to get the gun from Martin when a shot went off.

He said he was forced to shoot Martin to save his own life. Martin was shot five times.

On cross-examination, Chan was asked, "Is it true you shot Jeremy Martin in the back as he was running away?"

Chan replied, "Yes."

The jury also heard from other key witnesses, including responding officers, a doctor who testified about how Chan’s blood alcohol content was calculated and Chan’s wife, Leah Tafoya-Chan.

Tafoya-Chan testified, saying that Chan told her he was hiding in the bushes and sounded scared when he was on the phone with her.

She also said that she heard a scuffle while on the phone and then heard someone say, “Open the door,” and “Please no, please no,” before she heard gunshots a few minutes later.

Chan is accused of shooting and killing Deputy Jeremy Martin at Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces in October 2014.

The jury isn’t expected to deliberate Friday. Closing arguments for the retrial are scheduled for Tuesday morning.


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