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Tulare County Files Murder Charges on "Contract Killer"

Tulare County Files Murder Charges on "Contract Killer"

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, the Office of the District Attorney for Tulare County, working with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, and the District Attorneys and Sheriffs of Kern and Santa Barbara Counties, filed nine counts of murder and one count of attempted murder on Jose Manuel Martinez, age 51, of Richgrove, CA.

In addition to the nine counts of murder and one of attempted murder, defendant Jose Manuel Martinez is charged with special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, lying in wait, kidnapping and murder for financial gain. These special circumstances make the defendant eligible for the death penalty.

Six of the nine murder victims were killed in Tulare County, two in Kern, and one in Santa Barbara, where the defendant also attempted to kill a witness to that crime.

Anyone with information pertaining to these homicides is encouraged to contact Detective Klassen or Sergeant Parker of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department at (559) 735-1900 or (559) 733-6218.  You can also remain anonymous by sending information to tcso@tipnow.com or by texting to (559) 725-4194.

In chronological order, the crimes charged are as follows:

Martinez is charged with the October 21, 1980 murder of 23-year-old David Bedolla of Lindsay, CA (Tulare County). The victim was shot while driving his vehicle to work with his wife, brother, and brother-in-law. The shooting took place between Lindsay and Strathmore in Tulare County.

Martinez is charged with the October 1, 1982 murder of 30-year-old Sylvester Ayon and the attempted murder of 17-year-old G. G., who were both shot while working on a ranch near the Santa Ynez area off Refugio road (Santa Barbara County). G.G. survived the shooting while Sylvester Ayon died from multiple gunshot wounds.


Martinez is charged with the October 19, 1982 murder of 22-year-old Earlimart resident Raul Gonzalez (Tulare County). The victim was last seen at his home on October 19, 1982. Two days later his body was located by ranchers off Fountain Springs Road, east of Porterville. He had been shot and stabbed multiple times.


Martinez is charged with the April 8, 1995 murder of 29-year-old Domingo Perez of Earlimart, CA (Tulare County). The victim was reported missing by family members on April 8, 1995. His body was located in an orange grove just north of Richgrove in Tulare County on May 23, 1995. He had been shot multiple times.

Martinez is charged with the murder of 56-year-old Santiago Perez of Pixley (Tulare County), who was shot to death in his bed in the early morning hours of February 14, 2000. The victim’s four minor children were home at the time of the shooting.

Martinez is charged with the February 15, 2007 murder of 25-year-old Jose Alvarado (Kern County). The victim was located on a dirt access road outside of the town of McFarland in Kern County. He had been shot multiple times.

Martinez is charged with the March 23, 2009 murder of 52-year-old Juan Bautista Moreno (Kern County). The victim was located in an orange grove south of Elmo Highway near McFarland in Kern County. He had been shot multiple times.

Martinez is charged with the September 30, 2009 murder of 45-year-old Joaquin Barragan of Earlimart, CA (Tulare County). The victim was located on the bank of Deer Creek canal just east of Earlimart by ranchers working the area. He had been missing since September 27, 2009. Mr. Barragan suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Martinez is charged with the February 7, 2011 murder of 54-year-old Gonzalo Urquieta of Earlimart, CA (Tulare County). The victim was located in an orange grove just outside of the town of Richgrove, CA. He had been missing since February 5, 2011. Mr. Urquieta was shot multiple times.

All six Tulare county homicides were investigated by the Tulare County Sheriff’s office.
 
Jose Manuel Martinez is currently in custody in the State of Alabama pending trial on a murder charge from March of 2013. Jose Manuel Martinez is also pending an arrest warrant out of the State of Florida for two murders that occurred in November of 2006.