Cartel hitman had killed 30 people in the U.S. for drug debts and contract killings.
By H. Nelson Goodson
June 14, 2013
Lawrence County, Alabama - The Lawrence County District Attorney's Office has charged José Manuel Martinez, 50, of Richgrave, California with the March 4th homicide of José Arturo Ruiz, 32, of Decatur. Martinez is being held at the Lawrence County Jail without bail.
Martinez is the second alleged murder suspect in custody for Ruiz's murder. Jaime Roman Romero, 41, of Huntsville was also charged with Ruiz's homicide and is being held without bail. Ruiz's body was dicovered just of County Road 84 in Speake. Martinez killed Ruiz because he insulted his daughter, according to the criminal complaint.
Both Martinez and Romero are facing the death penalty, if convicted for capital murder.
Martinez a U.S. citizen had fled to Mexico after fatally shooting Ruiz in the head to escape prosecution. But on May 17, Martinez attempted to re-enter the country by walking across a border checkpoint and was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the Port of entry in San Luis, Arizona after a routine records check turned up with a felony homicide warrant from Alabama.
Martinez was turned over to San Luis police in Yuma County and later extradited to Alabama. In Alabama, Martinez confessed to killing up to 30 victims in the U.S. while he worked for a Mexican drug cartel as a hitman, enforcer, contract killer and debt collector.
Martinez told an investigator that he killed 11 victims in California, two in Florida and 17 others. Police have confirmed two murders committed by Martinez in Florida. Martinez admitted that he was ordered to kill both Javier Huerta and Gustavo Olivares-Rivas in Marion County Florida for stealing 10 kilos of cocaine from the cartel.
Authorities in California have confirmed 11 murders committed by Martinez and Alabama authorities are still trying to confirm the 17 other homicides by contacting law enforcement agencies where the alleged homicides took place. Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell in Alabama confirmed that Martinez had confessed to dozens of homicides by providing certain details a murderer would only know. Martinez' DNA was also recovered in a cigarette butt where both Huerta and Rivas bodies were found.