Man Linked to Nine Murders in Tulare County Arrested in Alabama
TULARE COUNTY – Authorities arrested a man they believe is responsible for nine deaths spanning across three counties over the last 30 years. Jose Manuel Martinez, 51, is believed to be behind the murders, six of which took place in Tulare County, two in Kern County and one in Santa Barbara. Martinez is currently in custody in Alabama on a separate murder charge.
“As charged, these murders span a period of over 30 years, beginning in Tulare County in 1980 and extend to 2011. The victims of these crimes ranged from 22 years of age to 56 years of age,” Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said.
In addition to being charged with nine counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, Martinez is also charged with special circumstance allegations that include multiple murders, lying in wait, kidnapping and murder for financial gain. “These allegations make the defendant potentially eligible for the death penalty,” Ward said.
Alabama authorities arrested Martinez in 2013 and later contacted the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department to let them know that Martinez might have information related to the California murders. The sheriff’s department sent detectives to Alabama three times to conduct interviews with Martinez.
Tulare County Acting Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said that the investigation involved dozens of investigators from several agencies and utilized hundreds of man hours.
“As these cases spread across three different counties, it took a cooperative effort from all involved to bring these cases to a point that the district attorney staff felt comfortable filing these cases. This case illustrates what can be done when law enforcement agencies work together in the spirit of cooperation and sharing,” Boudreaux said.