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Defense questions plans for new charge against Tai Chan

An attorney for a former Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy says he questions prosecutors’ motivation in planning to bring a voluntary manslaughter charge against the officer after two juries cleared him of murder in the shooting death of a fellow deputy.

Tom Clark’s comments Friday came a day after District Attorney Mark D’Antonio in Las Cruces said his office will seek a grand jury indictment for voluntary manslaughter against Tai Chan. Clark questioned whether justice or ego is driving the decision.

Juries twice have been unable to reach unanimous verdicts on murder charges against Chan in the 2014 shooting of Deputy Jeremy Martin at a Las Cruces hotel.

Chan maintains he opened fire in self-defense after a night of drinking and arguing.

D’Antonio says he’s seeking the lesser charge after consulting with police and Martin’s family.

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