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Former Rays prospect sentenced to life without parole for killing 3 with baseball bat

Brandon Martin avoided the death penalty after he was convicted of killing his father, uncle, and an alarm installer with a baseball bat.
Credit: AP
Worker replace the infield dirt at Tropicana Field Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla., before the start of the 2016 Tampa Bay Rays season. Rays pitchers and catcher report for spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Feb. 18. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — Former Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brandon Martin was handed life in prison without parole Thursday, after being convicted of murdering three people, including his father, with a baseball bat. 

Riverside County, California Superior Court jury returned the verdict Thursday. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the same jury found him guilty of killing his father, Michael Martin, uncle Ricky Andersen and alarm installer Barry Swanson, who the family had hired to install an alarm to protect them from Martin.  

The jury had to choose between the death penalty, sought by the prosecution, or life in prison without parole. 

The killings happened back in September 2015.

The verdict followed four days of often-emotional testimony during the penalty phase of the trial.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, defense attorneys argued Martin had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in January 2013 and remains untreated. 

Kevin Beecham, one of the prosecutors, blamed Martin, not mental illness.

“You have to remember these are the choices Brandon made,” Beecham said during his closing statement. “He chose to sign a $860,000 contract, to rent a mansion, to do drugs, to party incessantly, to refuse to listen to his family.”

Martin is scheduled to be sentenced on January 29.

As CBS Sports reports, he was first selected by the Rays with the No. 38 pick in the 2011 MLB draft. Martin spent three seasons in the minor leagues.

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