COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Brian Lansing Martin, 42, was at the Colbert County Courthouse on Thursday where he pleaded not guilty due to mental disease or defect.
His arraignment included a formal reading of Martin’s 12 charges – including capital murder, attempted murder and abuse of a corpse.
Martin entered his plea of not guilty under mental disease or defect to all charges.
In January, Martin was indicted for the October 1, 2021 shooting deaths of William Mealback, Jr. in Muscle Shoals and Sheffield Police Sergeant Nick Risner.
Investigators have testified that shots from Martin also hit Sheffield Police Lieutenant Max Dotson twice in his bulletproof vest.
Authorities have said that on October 1, Martin shot and killed William Mealback, Jr. while the two were in Mealback’s truck that afternoon. Martin pushed Mealback’s body out of the truck onto Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals and then led officers on a chase to nearby Sheffield.
That’s when officials say Martin got into a shootout behind the old Southgate Mall, ultimately killing Sheffield Police Sgt. Risner and injuring Lt. Dotson.
Witnesses at an earlier court proceeding testified that Risner ended the chase with a pit maneuver, saying it was at that point Martin began shooting into Risner’s vehicle – hitting him outside of his bulletproof vest.
Risner later died from his injuries.
A special agent with the State Bureau of Investigation explained the truck Martin was in and Risner’s patrol car were window-to-window when Martin allegedly stuck his arm out the window and began firing into Risner’s vehicle. Investigators said Risner was hit in the armpit area and that his service weapon was still holstered when he was checked for injuries.
The case was bound over to a grand jury in December.
Martin had also pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2013 and was sentenced to 10 years. He was released early from prison in 2016. He has remained in the Morgan County Jail.
Prosecutors have stated they are seeking the death penalty.