Pilot who lived in Raleigh pleads not guilty to murder, arson charges in Kentucky

Posted May 22, 2019 5:33 p.m. EDT

— An American Airlines who was living in Raleigh pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murder and arson out of Kentucky.

Christian Richard Martin was in uniform and on the way to his plane at the Louisville airport when he was arrested May 11 in connection to the 2015 shooting deaths of three people.

Martin moved from Christian County after the slayings and was living in Raleigh at the time of the indictment, a jail spokesman said. After his arrest, Martin was being held without bond in the Christian County Detention Center on murder, arson and burglary charges along with tampering with physical evidence.

Police said Calvin Phillips, 59, was found shot to death in the cellar of his home. The bodies of Pamela Phillips, 58, and Edward Dansereau, 63, were found a few miles away in a cornfield inside her burned car.

"They were brutally murdered, and to let that go is unacceptable," said Matt Phillips. His mother and father were two of the victims.

Phillips says his father was set to testify against Martin in a child abuse case in military court two weeks before the murders.

Justin Harmon, Martin's stepson at the time, says he was the victim in the case.

"He would abuse me, beat me, all the time. He'd smack me around, punch me, whatever," Harmon said. "I was out mowing the lawn one day, and I made the line a little too crooked, and he started smacking me around for it and told me I was doing it wrong."

American Airlines said Martin is on administrative suspension pending the outcome of the investigation and court proceedings. When he was hired, the airline said, a criminal background check found no "criminal history that would disqualify him from being a commercial pilot."

Martin faces a possible death sentence.