Police confirm a Tennessee Valley murder suspect may have been one busy killer. Jose Manuel Martinez is charged with murder for one killing in Lawrence county and may be connected to dozens of other murders.
Lawrence County Sheriff's investigators said they put his name on the national crime information center database and an hour later got a hit from Arizona where authorities in Yuma picked up Martinez as he tried to cross into the U.S. from Mexico.
Once they got him to confess to the murder here, investigators said he started telling him about scores of other murders. Authorities have connected him to 10 murders in California and two in Florida.
According to authorities, Martinez said he killed while collecting drug-related debts in retaliation for things done to his family members, and that he even claims he murdered child sex predators in vigilante-style killings.
"You work the evidence. You work those types of angles to build a good case in the event you don't get a confession. Obviously, when you get a confession for the case, that can be a surprise in itself. But when they start confessing to other cases that you're not investigating, it is a shock. You don't expect to encounter someone that tells you they possibly killed over thirty people," said Capt. Tim McWhorter with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office.
One of the many cases that Martinez is now tied to happened in Florida six years ago in November 2006.
Two men were found zip tied and shot multiple times inside a truck along the road in Marion County, Florida.
A key piece of evidence was found in a soda can. Police said they pulled DNA off a cigarette butt they discovered inside the can.
Investigators said that DNA matches Jose Martinez.
One of the victims, 20-year-old Javier Huerta, was reportedly moving large quantities of cocaine. The other victim, 28-year-old Gustavo Rivas, was a friend of Huertas. Police said it looks like he was an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong person.
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