A contract killer is finally charged with nine counts of murder more than 30 years after the brutal crimes. The Tulare County District Attorney announced today, 51-year old Jose Manuel Martinez of Richgrove, California, an alleged Mexican Drug Cartel member, was charged with nine counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Martinez is charged with special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, lying in wait, kidnapping and murder for financial gain.
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.
Martinez is charged with the October 21, 1980 murder of 23-year-old David Bedolla of Lindsay, CA. 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.
The special circumstances make Martinez eligible for the death penalty.