Jose Manuel Martinez Confesses to 40 Killings Over Decades

Image: Jose Manuel Martinez Confesses to 40 Killings Over Decades

Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 12:39 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Jose Manuel Martinez, a suspected contract killer for a drug cartel, confessed to investigators this week that he killed more than 40 people over a span of several decades.

Errek Jett, the district attorney in Lawrence County, Ala., told reporters on Wednesday that Martinez's confession is considered legitimate considering the facts he provided to investigators regarding the details of the killings and his knowledge of the drug cartels, The Associated Press reported.

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The 51-year-old Martinez, who was caught in 2013 attempting to cross the border between Mexico and Arizona, is currently being held in Alabama where he faces one murder charge. Following the trial, he will be transported to California, where he faces an additional nine murder charges.

Martinez allegedly killed the Alabama victim execution-style after the man made disrespectful remarks about Martinez's daughter, the Fresno Bee reported.

Despite confessing to the 40-plus murders he committed as a contract killer, Martinez denies he played any role in the Alabama murder he is accused of carrying out, according to his defense attorney Thomas Turner.

When asked about his client, Turner told the AP, "I've found him to be polite and a likable individual. He has a good personality as far as talking with him."

Martinez is accused of having killed nine people between 1980 and 2011 in the California counties of Tulare, Kern, and Santa Barbara. At the time, he was living at in Richgrove, Calif., a small farming community located about 40 miles north of Bakersfield.

In addition to the single murder charge in Alabama and nine murder charges in California, Martinez is also wanted in connection with the killings of two individuals in Florida.

"We're actually not sure what the full scope is," California's Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Anthony Fultz told the AP. "It will depend upon what the investigation shows."

If convicted in California, Martinez is eligible for the death penalty.

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