Brandon Martin, a former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, was found guilty of first-degree murder after using a bat to kill his father, uncle and a bystander at the family's home in Southern California in 2015, according to the New York Post. Martin, 27, played three seasons with the Rays' farm team before being released on March 26, 2015. His sentence for murders is pending.
Prosecutors said Martin used a wooden bat engraved with his name to beat his father, Michael Martin, 64; his uncle Ricky Anderson, 58; and an alarm system installer, Barry Swanson, 62, who was and the family's home at the time. According to the Los Angeles Times, this wasn't the first violent incident for Martin as he punched his father in the face and put his mother in a headlock. Before the murders, Martin confessed to police that he choked his mother and threatened her with scissors. He was held for two days at a mental health facility and then went to his family home after his release on Sept. 17, 2015.
Martin then attacked his father, uncle and Swanson, who was at the family's home to install an alarm system "because the family feared Brandon Martin," according to the Riverside County district attorney’s office. Martin's cousin called 911 when he discovered what happened. Martin's father and Swanson were pronounced dead on the scene, while his uncle died two days later at a local hospital.
The jury in Riverside, California, deliberated less than a day before announcing the verdict. According to NBC Los Angeles, Martin was also found guilty of "auto theft, evading arrest, obstructing a peace officer and injuring a police canine." The penalty trial is set to begin Monday morning, and the District Attorney's Office is seeking capital punishment for Martin, who is currently being held without bond.
Martin was elected by the Rays No. 38 overall in 2011 out of Santiago High School in Corona, California. Baseball America rated him as the third-best defensive shortstop in the country, and he committed to playing college baseball at Oregon State before signing with the Rays. Martin played with three different teams in the Rays' minor league system and recorded 18 home runs, 74 RBIs and a .211 batting average in 155 games.