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Former MLB first-round pick found guilty of triple murder with baseball bat

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3-min read

Former Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brandon Martin, who was taken in the supplemental first round of the 2011 MLB draft, was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Martin was reportedly accused of using a baseball bat to beat his father, uncle and a bystander inside a home in Corona, California, on Sept. 17, 2015.

The Riverside jury reportedly took less than a day to deliberate on the allegations, which also included a count of auto theft, evading arrest, obstructing a peace officer and injuring a police canine. He was found guilty on all counts.

He still reportedly awaits sentencing in Riverside County Superior Court, which is scheduled for Monday morning. The district attorney’s office is reportedly seeking capital punishment.

A Tampa Bay Rays helmet sits on the field by the batting cage as players participate in batting practice at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte Fla., Monday March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Brandon Martin hadn't played an affiliated minor league season since 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Ex-Rays prospect reportedly killed father, uncle after arriving from psychiatric hold

According to prosecution in the trial via NBC, Martin had been experiencing unspecified psychiatric issues and was admitted and evaluated at an emergency treatment facility of Riverside County’s department of mental health on Sept. 17, 2015.

Martin had reportedly made threats against his disabled father, 64-year-old Michael Martin, and had also choked his mother and threatened her with scissors, per the Los Angeles Times. Martin’s behavior in the years prior had reportedly included punching his father in the face and putting his mother in a headlock.

When released two days later, Martin reportedly went straight to his father’s house and arrived around 6 p.m. The father was at the residence with his brother-in-law, 51-year-old Ricky Lee Anderson, and Barry Swanson, a 62-year-old ADT technician who was consulting with Martin about installing a security system following his son’s threats.

Martin reportedly grabbed a baseball bat once inside the house and beat all three men in rage, according to prosecutors. The father and technician died at the scene, while Anderson died after spending two days in a coma.

The bat, engraved with Martin’s name, was reportedly left at the scene.

After the attack, Martin reportedly stole Swanson’s pick-up truck and hid overnight. After being spotted by an off-duty police officer, Martin reportedly sparked a car chase, then bailed out of his truck and ran into a nearby home where a woman was taking a shower. He reportedly attempted to escape the house out a second-story window, but was chased down by an officer and police dog and taken into custody.

Brandon Martin’s baseball career was brief

The Rays selected Martin, a shortstop out of Santiago High School, with the 38th overall pick of the 2011 MLB draft and gave him an $860,000 signing bonus.

While Martin was taken ahead of the likes of 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell, 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer and All-Star Trevor Story, his baseball career never rose above single-A with the Rays.

Martin played only three seasons in the Rays’ farm system, hitting .211/.281/.371 in the lower levels of the minor league before being released in March 2015. He never played in affiliated ball again.

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