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Ex-MLB baseball pick sentenced for 3 baseball bat killings

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A one-time Major League Baseball draft pick received a life sentence Friday for beating to death his father and two other men with a baseball bat at a Southern California home.

Brandon Willie Martin, 27, was sentenced in Riverside County Superior Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2015 killings in Corona. He was convicted last fall of three counts of first-degree murder.

Martin was the 38th pick of the 2011 MLB draft. Chosen by the Tampa Bay Rays, Martin spent three seasons in the minors. But his career was marred by drug use and discipline problems, and he was released in March 2015.

In September of that year, Martin suffered psychiatric problems, prosecutors said. He was committed to a county emergency mental health treatment facility for 72 hours but was was released a day early.

Hours later, Martin went to his father’s home in Corona and used a black baseball bat engraved with his name to kill Michael Martin, 64, prosecutors said.

He also killed his uncle, Ricky Lee Andersen, 51, of Corona and Barry Swanson, 62, of Riverside.

Swanson, an alarm technician, was at the home to install an alarm system because Martin had previously been violent and the family was afraid of him, authorities said.

Martin’s defense attorney told jurors that his client had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had acted strangely for years.

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