A California man has confessed to more than 30 murders. Self-described hitman Jose Manuel Martinez said he began working as an enforcer for the Mexican drug cartel at the age of 16. The alleged hitman said his primary job was collecting debt.
In early 2013, Florida authorities identified Martinez as a suspect in a 2006 double homicide. Investigators reportedly discovered a cigarette butt at the scene, which contained Martinez’s DNA.
In the course of investigation, authorities learned the hitman was already wanted in Alabama.
Although a majority of Martinez’s crimes were linked to the cartel, the Alabama killing was personal. In March 2013, the suspect reportedly killed business associate Jose Ruiz. Martinez said Ruiz made inappropriate remarks about his daughter.
In May 2013, the suspect was arrested while crossing the Arizona border. He was immediately extradited to Alabama. While in custody, the California man confessed to more than 30 murders throughout the United States.
Lawrence County Alabama Sheriff Gene Mitchell said authorities in California and Florida have confirmed the identity of 16 victims. Mitchell said he and Martinez “developed a good rapport,” which has aided in the investigation.
Marion County, Alabama, detective T. J. Watts also interviewed the suspect. As reported by Los Angeles Times, the suspect admitted his occupation was not ideal. However, Martinez explained that “it’s how he fed his family” and “if he didn’t do the job, someone else would do it.”
- David Bedolla, age 23, Lindsay, California
- Sylvester Ayon, age 30, Santa Barbara County, California
- Raul Gonzalez, age 22, Earlimart, California
- Domingo Perez, age 29, Earlimart, California
- Santiago Perez, age 56, Pixley, California
- Jose Alvarado, age 25, McFarland, California
- Juan Bautista Moreno, age 52, McFarland, California
- Joaquin Barragan, age 45, Earlimart, California
- Gonzalo Urquieta, age 54, Earlimart, California
Authorities have also identified Martinez as a suspect in numerous murders in Arizona and Alabama. Although the self-described hitman has confessed to a total of 34 murders, authorities must verify the claims before filing charges.
The suspect is already charged with multiple counts of murder, kidnapping, stalking, and murder for financial gain. Although he is facing the death penalty, Martinez has remained chillingly calm throughout the ordeal.
Sheriff Gene Mitchell said Martinez is “likeable.” However, his pleasant personality does not excuse his heinous crimes. The California man has confessed to more than 30 murders. Unfortunately, it could take years to verify Martinez’s claims.
[Image via Mexico Institute]