- Associated Press - Thursday, July 30, 2020

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A judge has dismissed a voluntary manslaughter charge against a former Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy accused in the 2014 shooting death of a fellow deputy.

Tai Chan had previously been tried twice on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Martin, but both trials ended in mistrials.

Chan is accused of shooting Martin in the back as Martin fled during an argument at a Las Cruces hotel where they had stopped on a trip to transport a prisoner from Santa Fe to Stafford, Arizona. Chan had claimed self-defense.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Judge Conrad Perea dismissed the charge Wednesday based on a violation of Chan’s right to a speedy trial and due process, saying the matter should have been resolved in a timely manner, but it was not.

Roxanne Garcia McElmell, spokeswoman for prosecutors, said the district attorney does not plan to prosecute Chan again.

James Martin, Martin’s brother, said the family is disappointed with the dismissal and the prosecutors’ work on the case, which he said was mishandled from the beginning.

“We also have a mixture of relief I think for both families. The Chan family and the Martin family are probably ready for this thing to be over,” James Martin said. “While brokenhearted, we’re very relieved at least we can move on.”

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