Phillip Martin

Senior Investigative Reporter, WGBH-FM

Since joining WGBH in the spring of 2010, Phillip Martin has reported on human trafficking in southern New England, the Boston Marathon bombing, Whitey Bulger, carbon offset schemes, police shootings, training and race, the Occupy movement and the fishing industry in New England, among other topics. 

On WGBH-TV, he is a regular panelist for Basic Black and an occasional panelist for Beat the Press, and hosted the World Compass 2012 presidential primary coverage. He is a Senior Fellow with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a 2012 International Center for Journalists Ford Foundation Fellow.

In addition, Phillip is executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions, a nonprofit public radio journalism project dedicated to exploring issues that divide and unite society. His Color Initiative --an occasional series of reports about the global impact of skin color--aired on The World, a co-production of WGBH, the BBC and PRI.  Phillip has worked as a supervising senior editor for NPR and was NPR’s first national race relations correspondent, from 1998 to 2001. In 1995, in his role as a senior producer, he helped create The World.

He has received various journalism honors, including a 2014 national Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative journalism (Underground Trade),  2014 Clarion Awards, a 2012 PASS Award, a 2012 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Ongoing Coverage (team award), the Margaret and Hans Rey WGBH producer of the year award, a 2011 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, the 2010 Asian American Journalists Award for National Radio Reporting, the 2008 Ruben Salazar Award and the 2005 NABJ Radio Documentary Award. He is an adjunct professor at Brandeis University's Heller School of Public Policy.

Phillip was a Harvard University Nieman Fellow from 1997 to 1998 and a U.S.-Japan Media Fellow in 1997. He earned a master's degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and studied international protection of human rights law at Harvard Law School as well as journalism at the University of California at Berkeley in the Program for Minority Journalists. 

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Local News
7:29 am
Wed June 24, 2015

Tsarnaev: Death Sentance To Be Formerly Imposed, Will The Boston Marathon Bomber Address The Court?

Lawyers for Tsarnaev are preparing an appeal that will focus on the jury selection process.
Credit FBI

Today Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to death in US District Court by the same judge who oversaw his trial.  

The question many are asking is:   Will the former defendant speak on his own behalf at today’s hearing.  

 

Nearly thirty survivors and members of their families have asked to address Dzhokhar Tsarnaev face to face at his sentencing.  US Judge George O’ Toole is expected to honor most or all of the requests.  

 

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News
1:50 am
Wed June 24, 2015

Mass. AG Says There May Be More Than Two Waltham Triple Murder Suspects

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Brendan Mess and Ibragim Todashev
Credit Associated Press

The Middlesex District Attorney’s office may be looking at additional suspects who carried out an infamous triple murder in Waltham in 2011 that authorities have suggested is linked to one of the Boston Marathon bombers.  This according to Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey.

In mid September of 2011, the girlfriend of a man living at 12 Harding Street in Waltham made a grisly discovery when she entered his apartment.  Brendan Mess and two other men were dead inside; their throats slashed and nearly decapitated. There was no sign of a break-in.

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Local News
5:45 pm
Mon June 22, 2015

As The Death Sentence Is Imposed, A Question Lingers: Did The Tsarnaevs Act Alone?

If the Tsarnaev brothers had help, are those people still on the loose?
Credit Creative Commons

This Wednesday, 21-year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to die for the deaths and injuries he inflicted at the Boston Marathon and on the MIT campus. Neither side in his trial disputed his role. But by the end of his trial, there remain unanswered questions surrounding the attack; including did the Tsarnaev brothers act alone? Our report begins near the finish line on April 15, two years ago.

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Local News
5:55 pm
Thu June 18, 2015

Notorious Drug Trafficking Gang, 'The Columbia Point Dawgs', Busted In Surprise Raid

1.5 million in cash and 31 guns seized during drug bust
WGBH/ Phillip Martin

Members of a notorious criminal gang were arrested today in a major federal, state and local drug trafficking bust in the Boston area.

The Columbia Point Dawgs is what they called themselves—a syndicate made up of four families working out of Dorchester’s neighborhood on the harbor. But law enforcement says their tentacles reached all the way into Texas, Florida and Georgia. In an early morning surprise raid the Dawgs were swept up by legions of law enforcement officials.

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Local News
2:35 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

The Widow Tsarnaev: What -- If Any -- Relationship Did She Have To The Boston Marathon Bombings?

Katherine Russell, widow of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Credit WGBH News

In less than two weeks, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to death. Victims will speak. Tsarnaev could too. But there’s one person close to Tsarnaev who we have yet to hear from, and may never will— the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Katherine Russell was raised in North Kingston, Rhode Island, lived in Cambridge, and is now hunkering down in New Jersey —trying to stay out of the public spotlight.

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News
11:01 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Massachusetts State Police Respond to Dubious Honor

The 2015 Golden Padlock Award presented to the Massachusetts State Police
Credit IRE

The Massachusetts State police, has responded to being “honored” with the Golden Padlock Award by the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization (IRE) “for a lack of transparency”, in its dealings with the media. 

The dubious award was presented by the IRE at its annual conference in Philadelphia  over the weekend. The  Massachusetts State police was cited specifically for  “habitually going to extraordinary lengths to thwart public records requests”. 

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Local News
1:02 pm
Wed June 3, 2015

Middlesex DA: MBTA Officer Richard Donohue 'Likely' Shot By Friendly Fire

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan points to a map during a news conference in Woburn, Mass., Tuesday, June 2, 2015, to the spot where a gun battle with the Boston Marathon bombers took place in Watertown, Mass., in April 2013. A report on the incident said it is "high likely" transit police officer Richard Donohue was critically injured by friendly fire during the gun battle.
Credit AP Photo

Fifty-six. That was the number of cartridge casings recovered from the scene of the 2013 Watertown shootout that authorities say came from the gun used by Tamerlan Tsarnaev to hold police at bay. There were 251 cartridges recovered from the scene altogether.

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Local News
8:34 am
Tue June 2, 2015

Tsarnaev Friend To Be Sentenced Today For Obstruction Of Justice

A University of Massachusetts Dartmouth classmate  of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will face sentencing today in federal court.

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Local News
8:27 am
Tue June 2, 2015

Essex DA Will Not Appeal Overturned Murder Conviction

The Essex County District Attorney's office has reportedly decided not to appeal a Judge’s decision overturning the conviction of a 48 year old man who served 21 years in prison for a murder he insisted he did not commit. The DA's office, however, has yet to determine whether it will seek a new trial.
 

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Local News
4:13 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Boston Police Looking For Suspect In Dorchester Shooting Of 7-Year-Old

Divan Silva was shot outside Rodriguez Barber Shop on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester.
Credit OpenStreetMap

Boston Police are looking for a suspect who shot and injured a seven-year-old boy in Dorchester over the weekend.

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News
11:24 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Amidst Sky-Rocketing Rents In Boston A Glimmer of Hope for the Middle Class

A drawing of Boston's newest luxury high rise building in the Seaport District, 100 Pier 4 with monthly rents ranging from $2,701 to $6,142
Credit 100 Pier 4

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s Administration has just released its quarterly housing report, and there may be some good news for the city’s middle class.   I was among a small gathering of reporters who met with the mayor this week when he reiterated his vision for the city’s housing market.    

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News
8:11 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Freed From Prison After 21 Years: Angel Echavarria's Story

Angel Echavarria with his 22 year old daughter, Ishannis Lopez, and other family members
Credit Phillip Martin / WGBH News

Prisons are filled with men who claim they are innocent.   Once in a while the stars seem to align and a lucky man is given the chance to prove it.

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Local News
11:58 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Tsarnaev Death Sentence To Be Formalized By End Of June

In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, center, stands with his defense attorneys as a death by lethal injection sentence is read at the Moakley Federal court house in the penalty phase of his trial in Boston, Friday, May 15, 2015
Credit Jane Flavell Collins via AP

UPDATED: 4:00 p.m.

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Local News
6:00 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Tsarnaev Decision: My Surprise

Police converge on a Watertown street during the Boston Marathon Bombing Manhunt in April.
Credit Courtesy Andrew Kitzenberg

Around 4 p.m., everyone in the court stood as the jury foreperson was asked by the judge to read the decision reached by all seven women and five men. They were then polled one-by-one, in their own struggling, sometimes tear-filled voices, and each juror agreed aloud with the death sentence they had just imposed on 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Local News
12:01 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Tsarnaev Sentencing Deliberation Stretches Into Second Full Day

Members of the defense team for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, from left, Judy Clarke, Timothy Watkins, Miriam Conrad and William Fick leave federal court in Boston, Thursday, May 14, 2015.
Credit AP Photo

Twelve women and men are deliberating multiple factors to decide if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will live or die, as the jury is still out in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.

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Local News
12:26 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Jury Begins Deliberating In Sentencing Of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Credit Jane Flavell Collins / AP

Update, 4 p.m.: Closing arguments in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have finished — with the defense and prosecution painting radically different pictures of what life in prison might hold for the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.

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News
4:48 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

After Winning A 4th Trial In Cop Killing Case, Sean Ellis Granted Bail

Sean Ellis, the man convicted of murdering a Boston police detective in 1993, today was granted bail.  He was convicted of shooting Detective John Mulligan five times in the face as he sat in his car while on a security detail.    The first two trials ended in hung-juries.  Ellis--now 40 years old- was convicted after a third trial in 1995,  but has always maintained his innocence. 

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News
2:23 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Anti-Death Penalty Activists Last Minute Scramble to Keep Tsarnaev Alive

Anti-death penalty activists in front of the US Courthouse in Boston

The jury in the Boston Marathon Bombing trial begins deliberating Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ‘s fate the the next day or two.

Meanwhile, anti-death penalty activists are using petitions to the court, demonstrations, calls to the Cardinal and a nun named Helen Prejean to try to sway juror’s views.

Testimony in the penalty phase ended Monday in dramatic fashion when Prejean, made famous by the movie “Dead Man Walking” said that the defendant, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, expressed regret for his crimes.

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Local News
10:06 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Tsarnaev Sentencing: Defense Rests, Gov't Calling More Witnesses To Rebut

In this sketch Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sits with his lawyers at his trial.
Credit Jane Flavell Collins / AP

Update, noon: The penalty phase of Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial is has entered its final stage — with the government calling witnesses to rebut the defense’s arguments against the death penalty.

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Local News
5:01 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Nun of 'Dead Man Walking' May Testify in Tsarnaev Trial

Credit Jane Flavell Collins / AP

 

On MondayDzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorneys are hoping to call to the stand a nun who was made famous by the movie Dead Man Walking, about an anti-death penalty advocate.  But that may not happen. U.S. prosecutors have filed a motion to stop her testimony and U.S. Judge George O’ Toole has not ruled if it will be allowed.    

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Human Trafficking
3:09 am
Mon May 11, 2015

The ‘Cost of Pretty Nails’ Is a Lot More than You Think

The New York Times in an investigation into some of the 17,000 nail salons that dot large cities and small towns across the United States finds that there is “rampant exploitation of those who toil in the industry.

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News
12:51 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Tsarnaev Trial: Government Seeks To Bar 'Dead-Man-Walking' Nun From Testifying

Sister Helen Prejean

Testimony in the Boston Marathon bombing trial will likely come to an end next week, according to court officials.  On Monday, the defense is hoping to top off its witness list in the penalty phase with a famous anti-death penalty advocate.  

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News
9:30 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Corruption Marred The Investigation of Murdered Policeman: The Case of Sean Ellis

Murdered Detective John Mulligan and Convicted Murderer Sean Ellis. Ellis has been granted a new trial in a case marred by corruption.

Sean Ellis has spent more than half his life behind bars for a murder he insists he did not commit.  He was convicted in 1995 for fatally shooting Boston detective John Mulligan.  On Tuesday, a Superior Court Judge granted Ellis a new trial—his fourth in so many years.  

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Local News
11:47 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Tsarnaev Jury Hears About Possible Prison Conditions

Testimony continues during the federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, second from left.
Credit Jane Flavell Collins / AP via NPR

End of day: Wednesday afternoon, jurors in the trial of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev heard about the prison where Tsarnaev will likely spend his life — if he’s not put to death— and the lack of human contact he’d experience there.

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Local News
1:43 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Tsarnaev Defense Tries To Make Conflict In Russia An Issue In Marathon Bombing Trial

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s aunt, Patimat Suleimanova, made it as far as the witness stand— and less than than 5 feet from the defendant— when she began weeping uncontrollably, and had to be removed from the courtroom. 

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Local News
7:50 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

At The Tsarnaev Trial: It's Cultural Identity Versus Personal Responsibility

In this sketch Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sits with his lawyers at his trial.
Credit Jane Flavell Collins / AP

End of day: Lawyers for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev delved into anthropology yesterday — but their focus on central Asian history and folkways may have backfired.

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Local News
8:43 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Tsarnaev Family Takes The Stand

The parents of Dzhokhar Tzarnaev (pictured above) will not be testifying at the penalty-phase of his trial. However, relatives from Russia are scheduled to do so.
Credit Jane Flavell Collins / AP via NPR

Update, Noon: Four relatives of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of them have taken the stand — with the third growing so emotional that she was unable to testify.  The third witness called this morning was Tsarnaev’s aunt Patimat Suleimanova — a sister of Dzhokhar’s mother Zubeidat. She sobbed loudly as she took the witness stand, and appeared to be hyperventilating. When she was unable to compose herself, Patimat was replaced by another aunt on the stand, and led out of the courtroom, still weeping.

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News
12:27 am
Fri May 1, 2015

A Kinder, Gentler Tsarnaev is described by Defense Witnesses in 2nd Week of Penalty Phase

Nine-year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with Tamerlan
Credit Federal Defenders Office

The prosecution has painted 21-year old  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a cold blooded killer.  But  the defense brought witnesses to the stand this week who collectively painted a different picture of the man who would become the Boston Marathon Bomber.   

The Tsarnaev family moved to the United States from Russia in 2002.   Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was 9.

His 5th grade teacher at the Cambridge Street Upper School, from 2003 to 2005,  described him as “super kind….really smart. very quick to learn… a really lovely person.”

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News
10:15 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Killing Tsarnaev Part Two: "Friends" of Dzhokhar rally to save his life

Some Tsarnaev supporters persist in their belief that he is innocent

On the first day of testimony in the penalty phase of the Marathon Bombing trial, prosecutors portrayed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as "America's worst nightmare."   Krystle Campbell's father, William Jr., barely held back tears describing his now dead daughter as "the light of my life".

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Local News
9:12 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Tsarnaev Trial, Day 2: Tamerlan Deals Pot, His Wife Researches Rewards Of Martyrdom

In this courtroom sketch, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, center, is depicted between defense attorneys Miriam Conrad, left, and Judy Clarke, right, during his federal death penalty trial in Boston.
Credit AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins

3 p.m.: The second day of defense arguments in the penalty phase of marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial focused once again on his deceased brother Tamerlan — with several witnesses discussing Tamerlan’s frustrated boxing career.

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