Hired killer in California confesses to 40 murders
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/10/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
If what he says is true - one of the most prolific serial killers of the past several years is now in custody. Fifty-one-year-old Jose Manuel Martinez has been linked to at least nine murders. Martinez, now in custody is claiming responsibility for more than 40 killings.
Fifty-one-year-old Jose Manuel Martinez has been linked to at least nine murders. Martinez, now in custody is claiming responsibility for more than 40 killings.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lawrence County District Attorney Errek Jett says that Martinez told investigators he carried out the killings working as an enforcer for a drug cartel. Jett said they believe Martinez due to the details he gave investigators.
Martinez was arrested last year after crossing the border from Mexico into Arizona. Since sent to Alabama, he awaits trial on one murder charge. A steady stream of investigators have since come from across the country came to question Martinez, Jett said.
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Defense attorney Thomas Turner, who represents Martinez in that lone case, said his client is eager to start a June trial in Alabama, so he can return to California.
Turner says that Martinez maintains his innocence to the charge there and doesn't seem to be a hardened killer. "I've found him to be polite and a likable individual," Turner says. "He has a good personality as far as talking with him."
There are those who say otherwise, in particular prosecutors in California. They say Martinez targeted victims in Tulare, Kern and Santa Barbara counties between 1980 and 2011.
Investigators have released details of their case, saying six of the victims were killed in Tulare County, two in Kern and one in Santa Barbara. The victims ranged in age from 22 to 56 years of age, investigators said.
One man was shot dead in 1980 driving to work in the morning. Two other men were shot in 1982 working on a ranch, with one man surviving. Another man went missing that same year before being found two days later by ranchers, where he was shot and stabbed to death. Another man was found in 2000 shot to death in bed with his four children at home.
In addition to the nine murder counts, Martinez was charged in California with one count of attempted murder and the special circumstances of committing multiple murders, lying in wait and kidnapping. Four murder charges include the allegation he committed the crime for financial gain. These charges would make Martinez eligible for a death sentence, if convicted.
Living sporadically in Richgrove, a small farming community in Central California about 40 miles north of Bakersfield, Martinez is being held in Alabama, awaiting trial in a 2013 slaying. He's also wanted in Florida on suspicion of two killings there in 2006.
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