Tampa Bay Rays Former Prospect Brandon Martin Charged with Murder
By David Hill
Brandon Martin had been a first round pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011. Now, he is going to stand trial for three counts of murder, and could face the death penalty.
It appeared as though Brandon Martin had it all. THe 38th overall pick int he 2011 MLB Amateur Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, he was expected to become another Derek Jeter. Instead, his attitude and lack of production led to the loss of his career at just 19 years old.
From that point, things went downhill in a hurry for Martin. He became increasingly unhinged, attacking his parents and saying that he needed to kill them in order to continue his baseball career. He began doing cocaine, and was no longer the person that his childhood friends knew. Over time, they began to distance themselves from Martin, who they began calling George, since he was a stranger to them at that point.
Everything came to a head on September 17, 2015. Just hours after being discharged from a psychiatric facility, Martin allegedly killed his father, uncle, and a worker from ADT who was installing a security system. Martin’s bat, covered in blood, was found at the scene. The next day, he was arrested, with four officers and a dog required to subdue the former Rays draft pick.
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Now, a year and a half after the murders, Martin is set to stand trial. He was found mentally competent last year, and once his lawyers are ready, he will likely face those charges in September. Martin has entered a plea of not guilty, and could face the death penalty if convicted.
No matter what happens, it is a sad ending to Martin’s tale. A little less than six years ago, he was a highly touted high school shortstop, a first round draft pick that the Tampa Bay Rays were counting on as a key part of their future. Instead, he flamed out at just 19 years old, done in by his immaturity and refusal to listen to his coaches.
Maybe things could have been different. If the mental health facility had kept Martin, instead of releasing him after just 48 hours, this tragedy could have been avoided. Perhaps he could have made those desperately needed changes, and had another chance at a baseball career.
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Instead, Brandon Martin is far from his days as a top prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays. In September, he will face those charges, as he fights for his life.