A 22-year-old former MLB prospect pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three counts of murder in the beating deaths of his father, uncle and an alarm system installer who was working at the family’s home in Corona at the time of the alleged crimes.
Brandon Willie Martin was also facing special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, which make him eligible for the death penalty, according to John Hall with the Riverside County District Attorney Office.
Officers with the Corona Police Department were called to the home on Winthrop Drive about 6:35 p.m. on Thursday.
When they arrived, officers found 64-year-old Michael Martin, the suspect’s father, and 62-year-old Barry Swanson, a sub-contractor for the home security company ADT, deceased at the location, a news release from the Police Department stated.
The defendant’s uncle Ricky Lee Anderson, 51, of Corona, was rushed to a hospital where he died of his injuries two days later.
All three victims had been beaten to death with a baseball bat, according to Hall.
Outside the courthouse Tuesday, the family of Barry Swanson urged people not to focus on the defendant, but rather on the lives of the victims who were lost.
Swanson’s son described the heartbreaking loss of a family patriarch who fought in Vietnam and led a “beautiful life.”
“We loved my father, said Jeremy Swanson. “He was a good man. He did not deserve this, nobody deserves this.”
The attack occurred shortly after Brandon Martin was released from a psychiatric care facility in Riverside where he had been held for two days for a mental health evaluation after making threats against his family, Corona police Sgt. Brent Nelson said.
According to a neighbor, Barry Swanson was at the home to install a security system because family members were concerned about what might happen when Martin left the facility.
“People made decisions to allow this to happen,” Jeremy Swanson said. “There were many steps that were avoidable here.”
Brandon Martin was chosen by the Tampa Bay Rays as the 38th overall pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, The Press Enterprise reported, citing BaseballAmerica.com.
He was due back in court on Oct. 1.