Pension Board Refuses to Pay Killer

     PHOENIX (CN) – An Arizona prison guard was shot to death by her husband, and the prison guard’s Retirement Plan says it will not pay the man $1,556 in monthly survivor benefits, as its own Local Board ordered, “unless so ordered by the court.” The Corrections Officer Retirement Plan wants to pay survivor’s benefits to the woman’s daughter, not to her husband, John Berry Martin, who was sentenced to 14½ years for manslaughter.

     Kathleen Martin, a sergeant with the Department of Corrections, died from a gunshot on April 15, 2009. John Martin told police that when he removed his gun from his holster during the fight, he “unknowingly fired” at Kathleen.
     After Kathleen died, her husband “applied to the Local Board for a survivor pension,” and the Local Board said he should be paid $1,556 a month starting on May 31, 2009, according to the complaint in Maricopa County Court.
     The Local Board vacated its award on May 28, 2009, after Martin was arrested, but it reinstated it on April 9 this year – though Martin was convicted of manslaughter on March 22, and was sentenced to prison.
     The Retirement Plan claims asks that the court find “that Martin is not entitled to receive any survivor pension benefits as Kathleen’s survivor, in accordance with the principle that a killer cannot profit from that person’s wrong, and that the Local Board’s award of death benefits to Martin be vacated.”
     It wants to give the pension to Kathleen’s daughter.
     The Corrections Officer Retirement Plan is represented by Paige Martin with Kutak Rock of Scottsdale.

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