“The Evil That Watches”: Dateline Investigates Christian “Kit” Martin Case February 4 2024

Dateline’s episode “The Evil that Watches” takes us to the heart of Pembroke, Kentucky, where a triple homicide shocked the small town and unraveled a complex web of secrets and accusations. The episode, reported by Keith Morrison, delves into the case against former commercial pilot Christian “Kit” Martin, sentenced to life without parole for these heinous crimes.

The Crimes That Shook Pembroke

In November 2015, the quiet life of Pembroke was shattered. Calvin and Pamela Phillips, along with their neighbor Edward Dansereau, were brutally murdered. Calvin Phillips was found shot in his home, while the charred remains of Pamela Phillips and Dansereau were discovered in a burnt vehicle in a field. This triple murder sparked a lengthy and intricate investigation that captivated the nation.

The Arrest of Christian “Kit” Martin

The case took a dramatic turn when Martin, an American Airlines pilot, was arrested in May 2019 at the Louisville airport. The image of Martin, handcuffed in his pilot’s uniform, became a symbol of the shocking turn his life had taken.

Trial and Conviction

Martin faced charges of murder, arson, burglary, and tampering with evidence. The prosecution, led by special prosecutors Barbara Whaley and Alex Garcia, argued that Martin murdered Calvin Phillips to prevent him from testifying in Martin’s military court-martial trial. Martin, who served 30 years in the military, was eventually convicted on charges of mishandling classified information and assault on a child.

Martin’s defense, led by assistant public advocate Tom Griffiths, contended that the prosecution’s theory was flawed. Griffiths argued that Calvin Phillips was also a defense witness in Martin’s court-martial, challenging the motive suggested by the prosecution. The defense also suggested that key evidence, including a shell casing linked to a gun found in Martin’s home, might have been planted.

The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld Martin’s murder conviction but reversed the arson conviction. The court dismissed most of Martin’s appeals, including those concerning hearsay statements and the exclusion of alternative suspect evidence. However, it agreed that Martin was entitled to a directed verdict on the arson charges.


“The Evil that Watches” provides a comprehensive overview of a case that combines elements of a military court-martial, a small-town tragedy, and a murder mystery. Through interviews with Sheriff Brent White, family members, and others, Dateline presents a detailed account of the events that led to Martin’s life sentences and the profound impact on the community of Pembroke. This episode serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and unforeseen consequences of hidden secrets within a community.

More Dateline: The Evil That Watches

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Ryan Gill

Ryan is a passionate follower of true crime television programs, reporting on and providing in-depth investigations on mysteries in the criminal world.

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