California man charged with 9 contract killings

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Updated: 4/08 10:30 pm

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors are calling a Central California man a contract killer and have charged him with murdering nine people in three counties.

Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Anthony Fultz said Tuesday that 51-year-old Jose Manuel Martinez carried out a killing spree between 1980 and 2011, targeting victims in Tulare, Kern and Santa Barbara counties.

Martinez is now being held in Alabama, awaiting trial in a 2013 killing, and Fultz said officials in Florida also want him on suspicion of committing two murders there in 2006.

Martinez is from Richgrove, Calif., a small community 40 miles north of Bakersfield.

Fultz says Martinez was charged with nine counts of murder and the special circumstance of murder for financial gain, making him eligible for a death sentence if he is convicted.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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