Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Martin sentenced to life imprisonment

Former Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brandon Martin has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of murder.

At this point in his life, Brandon Martin was supposed to be a part of the Tampa Bay Rays, a potential building block at short. He had been compared to Derek Jeter when he was drafted with the 38th overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft, a solid all around shortstop who had the potential to be a star.

Instead of being the answer at short for the next decade, Martin struggled. Although he continued to rise through the system due to his draft status, his disappointing production at the plate and mental issues led to a short professional career. After he was released in 2015, Martin snapped, killing three people at his parent’s home after being discharged from a mental health facility.

Martin learned his fate on Thursday. He had already been found guilty on those three counts of murder, amongst other charges, and had been facing the death penalty. While he avoided execution, Martin has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Two days before the murders, Martin had a run-in with his parents. He had punched his father, put his mother in a chokehold, and threatened her with scissors. These actions led to Martin being admitted to the Riverside County Department of Mental Health’s emergency treatment facility, but he was released after two days.

That is when disaster struck. He returned to his parents house, where they were in the midst of having a security system installed to protect themselves against him. Martin then bludgeoned his father, uncle, and the ADT security system installer to death, leaving the bat engraved with his name at the scene.

He stole the installer’s truck as he made his escape, but was spotted the next day by the police. He led them on a chase, eventually fleeing to a home near an elementary school, where he tried to escape out of a second story window. A scuffle that involved Martin body slamming a police dog led to his capture and incarceration.

This tragedy did not need to happen. Had Martin gotten the help he needed in the first place, not only would those three still be alive, but he may be free, living a productive life. Instead, he was released after two days in that facility, failed by the system and his mental issues were too much for him to overcome.

Former Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brandon Martin will spend the rest of his life in prison. His story never should have gotten to this point.