Passenger reacts to pilot being arrested, charged with triple murder before flight


A North Carolina pilot is facing charges in a 2015 triple murder. He was arrested at the Louisville airport Saturday morning, passengers say just before his plane was set to take off. 

Christian Martin is a pilot for American Airlines PSA and was set to fly a plane from Lousiville to Charlotte at 7 a.m. Instead, passengers were shocked to see their uniformed pilot handcuffed and escorted out of the airport.

“They were talking like, ‘Oh shoot! Some pilot just got arrested.’ Yeah.. and he looked shocked. They looked shocked. The staff looked shocked,” passenger Ashley Martin told News 2.

In a phone interview, she described what passengers saw as they waited to board.

“It was a pilot that came out of the shoot or whatever, and we were all like, “Oh my God,’ like I was thinking, ‘Was that our pilot? Is that why this flight is delayed, ’cause our pilot got arrested?'” Martin said, “And originally I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, like what could it be… maybe he was just under the influence a little bit.”

It was much more than that. The triple murder he is indicted for happened in November 2015 in Christian County, Kentucky.

Pembroke resident Calvin Phillips was found shot to death in his home. Phillip’s wife, Pamela and his neighbor, Edward Dansereau, were found a few miles away inside a burned-out car in a cornfield.  

Deputies originally didn’t know how many murder victims they were dealing with when they found that burned car.

“We know of at least two, what we don’t know of is how many were in the vehicle. The vehicle was so badly burnt that it was difficult for us to identify specifics as far as numbers,” a deputy told News 2 at the scene in 2015.  

American Airlines said in a statement that Martin has been a first officer pilot with PSA since January 2018 and did pass a background check.

“Honestly like disbelief that we almost got and shock really, that we almost go on a plane with a murderer,” Martin said, “Like, that’s something you only hear about in the movies, you know, you never really think that would happen to you.”

Martin is indicted on three counts of murder, arson, attempted arson, and burglary. There’s still no word on a motive.

He will be brought back to Christian County to await trial, without bond.

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