I had an opportunity to interview one of the jurors in the Kit Martin case. In this post, I will share some of the revelations from that interview.
Juror #5 is an army veteran who flew the Cobra combat helicopter in Vietnam. He was 74 years old at the time of the trial. He had moved to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, after the murders and had no prior knowledge of the crime.
The shell casing was the one piece of evidence that seemed to have the most impact. This juror was also a gun enthusiast. He owned several firearms and was familiar with their operation. The fact that the bullet fragments retrieved from Calvin’s body could not be positively matched to test bullets fired from Kit’s Glock did not factor into his consideration of the importance of that evidence. He agreed with the prosecution that the barrel could have been altered. When confronted with the testimony that there was no evidence that the barrel had been altered, he claimed that the gun barrel could have been switched out after the murders, something not discussed at trial. He also agreed with the prosecution that the manufacturer could have used a different shell casing during the assembly process, which the prosecution explained could be why the metals in the shell casing did not match the metals normally used for the RIP rounds.
According to juror #5, the dog tag evidence concerned several jurors once they got into deliberations. He told his fellow jurors how it was routine to separate the dog tags with one tag around the neck and one placed in the shoe, just as Kit had demonstrated on the witness stand. He explained that he was aware from people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan that soldiers would sometimes wear their dog tag on something other than a chain due to the desert heat. He had no explanation of how the dog tag ended up on a bookshelf next to the victim’s phone and wallet, commenting that the fact that it wasn’t found until much later indicated to him that it was unlikely to have been planted evidence.
When asked about the prosecution’s attempt to manipulate Kit’s security camera footage to show gaps that aligned with the times that crimes were being committed, he said that he remembered the defense raising the issue. He felt it improper for the prosecution to do that but was glad they got it straightened out. He commented that it wasn’t unusual for anyone in our government to manipulate facts to their advantage.
When it came to the prosecution’s theory about Kit walking back from the site of the burned car, then driving Ed Dansereau’s car to Elkton, Kentucky, to throw Pam’s cell phone into her front yard and then driving back and parking Ed’s car in the old elementary school parking lot, he was fuzzy on those details but agreed that the prosecution’s theory was improbable. He stated that Kit had thirty days to throw the phone in Joan’s front yard. He could not explain how the defendant’s and Pam’s phones were simultaneously in different locations, or that Pam’s phone indicated movement at a time when Kit was home. None of the jurors likely connected the dots to the prosecution’s improbable theory because it wasn’t introduced until closing arguments on the last day of the trial and was never challenged by the defense.
One important detail that this juror failed to pick up on concerned the G2 Research RIP rounds. It was his understanding that Kit had that type of ammunition.
“I believe a partial box of that ammunition was found in his vehicle if I’m not mistaken,” he replied when asked if he was aware that the defendant did not possess this type of bullet.
Once deliberations began, the first task was to choose a jury foreperson. They settled on a gentleman who had prior jury service. The next task was to do a poll to see where each juror stood as to guilt or innocence. Juror #5 stated that after the first poll, several people voted guilty, a few were undecided, and at least one was not guilty. He did not remember the specific breakdown but implied that his explanation about why the dog tag may have been on a string might have helped sway a few votes. After the poll, each juror stated the reasons behind their vote. After that process, another poll would be taken, and the number of jurors willing to vote guilty increased. He couldn’t remember how many polls were needed before the unanimous vote but indicated that it was three or more times.