SANTA FE, N.M. — A former northern New Mexico sheriff’s deputy accused of killing a fellow lawman during an alcohol-fueled argument pleaded not guilty Monday and opted not to attend his arraignment.
An attorney for Tai Chan waived his arraignment before a Las Cruces District Court judge on a first-degree murder charge and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Authorities say Chan, who was a Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy, fatally shot fellow Deputy Jeremy Martin at a Las Cruces hotel last month after they drank at a nightspot and got into a heated argument. Police said they were staying at the hotel after dropping off a prisoner in Arizona.
Before the shooting, Chan called a friend to pick up him and Martin to go drinking at Dublin’s Street Pub, according to a criminal complaint. At the pub, the two deputies got into an intense argument and began “pointing fingers at each other.”
The friend told investigators he had never seen Chan “hostile like that before, and that the bartender had to separate them at one point.”
It was not known why the two deputies were arguing.
In the courtroom, Martin’s sister, Laurie Martin-Shelly, gave a short statement.
“What we would like to say is that we believe in a God of love and forgiveness but we also believe in a God of justice, and we will settle for nothing less,” she said.
Court records show Chan, who was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month, was being held in lieu of $600,000 bail.