LAS CRUCES – State prosecutors say they intend to retry former Santa Fe sheriff’s deputy Tai Chan in the fatal shooting of his partner in an upscale hotel in 2014, according to court documents.
The 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office has also asked Chief Judge Fernando Macias to postpone the trial, currently on the docket for the two weeks after Thanksgiving. A motion filed by the prosecution states that Chan’s defense attorneys agree with the request.
Chan, now 29 years old, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Santa Fe sheriff’s deputy Jeremy Martin after a drunken night out in late October 2014.
Martin, 29, was shot multiple times in the back at the Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces. He died of his injuries at a local hospital.
The original trial of Chan, in which he claimed self-defense, ran two weeks in May and ended in a mistrial after the jury could not agree on a verdict.
Prosecutors said in a court filing that they subpoenaed and produced at least 21 witnesses at a cost to the state of $12,400. Reconvening those witnesses for a trial slated for Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 would be far more costly and difficult, given the holiday season, they said.
“If trial were to commence as currently scheduled, the travel expenses are anticipated to be much higher than other times of the year given the high volume and high demands of airlines and hotels for flights and accommodations, respectively,” the filing says.
Additionally, Chan’s co-counsel Tom Clark is scheduled to try a different case in Aztec during the same period. Clark and Santa Fe attorney John Day defended Chan during the original trial.
The high-profile case drew intense media scrutiny.
An Albuquerque TV station live-streamed the entire trial, which included emotional testimony from terrified hotel guests who heard a scuffle inside hotel room 711 and multiple shots fired; from Chan’s then-girlfriend, Leah Tafoya, who was on the phone with Chan when the altercation began; and from Chan himself, who described fearing for his life.
Prosecutors accused Chan of killing Martin in cold blood.
The jury deliberated over two days but could not come to a unanimous decision on Chan’s guilt.