The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 19, 2014

Alleged Calif. hitman pleads guilty in Lawrence County case

— MOULTON, Ala. (AP) — A man charged in nine alleged contract killings in California has pleaded guilty to murder in Alabama.

Court records show 52-year-old Jose Manuel Martinez pleaded guilty Thursday to shooting Jose Ruiz in Lawrence County in March 2013. A judge sentenced him to 50 years in prison.

Investigators say Ruiz was shot to death after making a derogatory remark about Martinez's daughter.

Investigators say that once Martinez was arrested in that case he claimed to be a contract killer for drug cartels who has killed dozens of people in several states.

Authorities have since charged Martinez with nine murders in California, and he's wanted on suspicion of committing two murders in Florida in 2006.

Martinez could now be sent to California to face charges there.

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