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A former minor league baseball player has been convicted of beating his dad, uncle, and a bystander to death with a baseball bat in a grisly triple homicide.
Brandon Willie Martin, 27, was found guilty Wednesday of murdering his disabled father, Michael Martin, 64; his uncle, Ricky Anderson, 58; and 62-year-old Barry Swanson who had been at the home on Sept. 17, 2015 to install an alarm system after the family had “feared Brandon Martin,” according to the Riverside district attorney’s office.
It took jurors only about four hours to return a guilty verdict on all seven counts facing Martin, a one-time prospect of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The jury found Martin guilty of first-degree murder under a special circumstance of multiple murders, making him eligible for the death penalty.
The penalty phase of the trial is expected to begin Monday morning. Jurors will be tasked with determining whether to sentence Martin to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors said Martin beat all three men to death on Sept. 17, 2015 with a black wooden baseball bat engraved with his name. Two of the victims, Michael Martin and Barry Swanson, died at the scene.
Martin’s uncle Ricky Anderson died two days after the brutal attack.
Swanson had been in the Corona home at the time to install an ADT alarm system after the family had become increasingly concerned about Martin’s erratic and violent behavior. Martin had once punched his father in the face and put his mother in a headlock, according to court records obtained by The Los Angeles Times.
Just two days before the triple slaying, Martin had allegedly choked his mother and threatened her with scissors. He was placed on a mental-health hold in Riverside after the incident, but would come back to attack the family after he was release.
After killing the three men, prosecutors said Martin stole Swanson’s Ford Raptor pickup truck and fled the scene.
Corona police spotted the stolen truck the next day, leading to a chase throughout Corona before Martin ditched the truck and fled on foot, prosecutors said.
Martin ran into a nearby home where a woman had been taking a shower, City News Service reports. He tried to escape by jumping out of a second-story window but was taken down after a brief struggle with a K-9 officer and his dog.
Martin’s life had once been filled with promise. In 2011, he was the 38th overall Major League Baseball draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays.
At the time of his signing, he received a $860,000 signing bonus, according to The Times.
He played for three seasons with the Rays’ farm team before he was let go by the organization in March 2015.
Martin was convicted of three counts of murder, auto theft, evading arrest, obstructing a peace officer, and injuring a police canine.
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