Former Tampa Bay Rays minor league prospect convicted in triple murder

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A former minor league baseball player was convicted Wednesday of using a bat to kill his disabled father, his uncle and a bystander five years ago.

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Brandon Willie Martin, 27, was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, KABC reported. The district attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty for Martin, who is being held without bail, the television station reported.

A Riverside County Superior Court jury deliberated four hours before finding Martin, a shortstop chosen in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, guilty in the Sept. 17, 2015, deaths of his father, Michael Martin, 64; his uncle, Ricky Andersen, 51; and alarm installer Barry Swanson, 62, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Martin also was convicted of evading arrest, resisting arrest, stealing an automobile and injuring a police dog, the newspaper reported.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz scheduled the penalty phase of the trial to begin Monday at the Riverside Hall of Justice, according to KABC.

The Rays selected Martin from Santiago High School in Corona with the 38th overall selection in the 2011 draft, the Times reported. He received an $860,000 signing bonus, the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors alleged that Martin had been experiencing psychiatric issues after he was released by the Bowling Green Hot Rods in March 2015. He was admitted to the Riverside County Department of Mental Health’s emergency treatment facility on Sept. 15, 2015, for an evaluation, the Times reported.

Martin’s admission to the facility came after he allegedly made threats against his father, the newspaper reported. Martin was released two days later and went to his father’s home shortly after 6 p.m.

The elder Martin was at his home with Anderson and Swanson, an ADT alarm company technician who was there for an installation consultation, KABC reported.

According to prosecutors, Brandon Martin grabbed a baseball bat inside the house and began hitting all three men, the Times reported. Michael Martin and Swanson died at the scene, and Anderson was in a coma for two days before dying from his injuries, the newspaper reported.

The bat was engraved with Martin’s name, the Times reported.

After the attack, Brandon Martin stole Swanson’s Ford Raptor pickup, authorities said.

According to Corona police Sgt. Brent Nelson, an off-duty officer spotted Swanson’s truck early the next day and attempted to stop it, but Martin fled the scene, KABC reported. Martin fled into a home near an elementary school and tried to escape from a second-story window, but encountered a K-9 officer and his dog, the television station reported.

Martin was bitten by the dog after a brief struggle, and police records allege he body-slammed the police dog, the Times reported.

Martin has been jailed without bail since his arrest, the newspaper reported.

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