Cartel Hit Man Confesses to Killing 30; 10 Victims Linked to California
A booking photo of Jose Martinez.
The sordid life of 52-year-old Californian Jose Martinez, reputed drug-cartel hit man, unraveled this week when he confessed to killing a man who had dissed his daughter. And then he confessed to at least 29 other murders.
That's what sheriff's officials in Lawrence County, Alabama, say. That's where Martinez, who's from Kern County, north of L.A., was jailed in connection with the March murder of Jose Ruiz, who had badmouthed his progeny.
Capt. Tim McWhorder told reporters:
Killing people doesn't seem to affect him.
If what deputies there say is true, it was a rare passion play for a man who pulled the trigger professionally.
Authorities say they've so far linked him to 13 murders, 10 of then in California. Two were in Florida and one was in Alabama, officials said.
Martinez was arrested last month near Yuma, Arizona, where he was visiting family, and was apparently extradited to Alabama to face the music earlier this month.
View Larger Map
The Alabama killing in March involved a road trip into the local national forest, authorities said. Jamie Romero, the daughter's boyfriend, and Ruiz, the victim, were along for the ride.
Romero was arrested in connection with the homicide, but officials now say he might not have known Ruiz was going to be offed.
The sheriff's department in Marion County, Florida says it linked Martinez to a 2006 double murder when his DNA turned up on a cigarette butt inside the victims' truck, according to a statement.
Detectives from that department traveled to Alabama and say they got a "full confession" to the double homicide, too.
Martinez, who was being held without bail, reportedly told investigators:
I'm the guy that pays you a visit if you don't pay.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.
- Film Students Arrested After Display of Prop Guns Shuts Down 101 Frwy
Wed., Dec. 2, 7:30pm
Thu., Dec. 3, 6:00pm
Fri., Dec. 4, 7:00pm
Sat., Dec. 5, 1:00pm
- What Does Hamburg Know About the Olympics That Los Angeles Doesn't?
- Why Charter School Teachers Are Split on Unionization