American Airlines pilot arrested at Louisville airport, charged in 2015 triple homicide

American Airlines pilot arrested at Louisville airport, charged in 2015 triple homicide
Christian Richard Martin

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An American Airlines pilot was removed from a flight in Louisville and charged in connection with a 2015 triple homicide.

Attorney General Andy Beshear announced via statement Saturday morning Christian Richard Martin was arrested at the Louisville International Airport. Beshear’s office is handling it personally. He said he’s already assigned a special prosecutor for the case.

American Airlines later confirmed Martin was a pilot on American Airlines flight 5523 leaving Louisville and headed to Charlotte.

Martin was arrested with help from the United States Marshals Service, LMPD and Christian County Sheriff’s Office. He’s charged in connection with the 2015 murders of Calvin and Pamela Phillips and Edward Dansereau.

The indictment stems from events that occurred on November 18, 2015. AG Beshear said Calvin Phillips was found shot to death in his Pembroke, Kentucky home. A few miles away his wife Pamela’s smoldering car was left in a cornfield. Her body and the body of their neighbor Edward Dansereau were inside.

The horrific mystery left the Phillips’ son wondering if justice would ever be served.

“About two years ago Matt Phillips came into my office talked about losing both his parents in a brutal murder that also took the life of a third individual,” Beshear said in a video posted to social media. “He was worried the case was stalled and was worried justice would not come.”

AG Beshear took up the case along with the Christian County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police, eventually coming though with an indictment.

“We hope this is one example of what happens when you never stop seeking justice,” Beshear said. “When you never give up on a case we can truly get important results for our families.”

WSMV in Nashville reported Christian Martin was a person of interest since the beginning. He was a neighbor of the victims and his ex-wife was seeking help from the Phillips’ and Dansereau in court, according to their reports.

Martin was initially taken into custody, but later released, according to WSMV.

Loved ones of the victims have expressed gratitude for law enforcement officials who worked diligently to find answers.

“Nov. 18, 2015, Cal Phillips, Pam Phillips and Ed Dansereau were brutally extinguished – beyond recognition from family. Every day, we are haunted by what was done to them and haunted further that someone was still free to do as they wish, beyond the civility of mankind or laws of our nation. We are overwhelmed with this positive step towards resolution for people we love dearly; Cal and Pam Phillips and Ed Dansereau, and the hundreds of friends, family, neighbors, coworkers and others deeply affected by their brutal end. We look forward to justice in court, and we look forward to a verdict to bring an end to this terror, and a fresh start at healing.”
Family members via Andy Beshear

American Airlines issued the following statement on the incident:

“All of us at American Airlines and PSA Airlines are deeply saddened to have learned about these allegations from 2015. Our team was made aware of the indictment this morning after his arrest at Louisville International Airport. We have an unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members, and we will provide any investigative assistance possible to law enforcement throughout their investigation.”

Background information:

  • Pilots undergo a criminal background check and recurrent vetting for any derogatory information. In this specific case, Christian Martin was subject to this recurrent vetting without any criminal history that would disqualify him from being a commercial pilot.
  • Martin has worked for PSA Airlines, as a Bombardier CRJ First Officer, since January 2018.
  • Martin has been placed on administrative suspension pending the outcome of the investigation/court proceedings, which includes the suspension of all travel privileges.
  • The screening of both passengers and airline employees is handled by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and questions regarding these policies would have to be addressed by the TSA. Recurrent vetting of criminal histories is run regularly via the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)

The Christian County Detention Center website shows Martin facing charges of murder, arson, burglary and tampering with physical evidence.

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