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Tai Chan case moving forward with possible third trial

The former Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy accused of killing his partner in 2014, was back before a judge in Las Cruces on Thursday.

A hearing for Tai Chan was held in magistrate court.

Chan is accused of shooting and killing Jeremy Martin inside a Las Cruces hotel.

The two were traveling back to Santa Fe after transferring a prisoner to Arizona.

Chan was tried twice for murder with both trials ending in a mistrial because the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict.

Thursday’s hearing lasted five hours with the judge ruling that there is probable cause to move the case over to district court on one count of voluntary manslaughter.

James Martin, Jeremy Martin’s older brother, attended Thursday’s hearing.

Martin says he’s disappointed Chan won’t be facing a murder charge this time around.

“I think both families would like to get the process complete and for justice to come and for the real story to come out,” Martin said. “But we’ll take what we can get and would like to move on.”

Prosecutors say Chan shot Martin five times in the back and arm after the two got into a fight.

Who exactly fired the gun first is something both sides disagree on.

Chan’s attorney, John Day, says it was Martin who fired the gun first and that his client acted in self-defense.

“And that’s really the story here is that we are defending Tai’s right to defend himself,” Day said. “I think the day the courts and prosecutors tell us, “Nope, sorry you got to sit there and become a victim,” that’s going to be a sad day.”

The judge overseeing Thursday’s hearing ruled that while Chan’s actions may have been provoked, his reaction was excessive.

George Harrison is with the Dona Ana County District Attorney’s Office.

Harrison believes Chan had the gun the entire time.

“He (Chan) was losing the fight and he got his gun,” Harrison said. “There’s just no excuse for it and I feel strongly in supporting law enforcement officers. We have one who is deceased now and we want to support him and his family.”

A trial date has not been set, but if Chan is convicted on the voluntary manslaughter charge, he could face up to 7 years in prison.

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