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Friends swore he would be the next Derek Jeter, but Brandon Martin is now charged in three killings

The men had been beaten with a black baseball bat, left in a hallway near the garage.

A name was engraved on the blood-covered wood: Brandon Martin.

Corona police had responded to the house on Winthrop Drive before the 911 call for a man not breathing on the evening of Sept. 17, 2015. Two days earlier, they were summoned after Martin, a former supplemental first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, threatened his mother, Melody, and brother, Sean, with a pair of scissors. Sean Martin held him off with a golf club. Brandon Martin ranted that he couldn’t play baseball as long as his parents were alive.

Problems had built in the house for months. Martin, then 22, punched holes in the walls. Assaulted his father. Raced 120 mph down the 91 Freeway in his bright green BMW M3. Mumbled words no one understood. Claimed to read minds.

He struggled with alcohol and drugs. But close friends wondered if something more was behind the erratic behavior. One believed Martin was possessed. Another dreamed he drove them off a cliff.