Lawrence Co. murder suspect possibly connected to FL, CA murders - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Lawrence Co. murder suspect possibly connected to FL, CA murders


Sheriff's investigators made a second arrest in a Lawrence County murder investigation.

Jose Manuel Martinez of Richgrove, California is in jail without bond accused of killing Jose Ruiz of Decatur.

"We always believed that someone else was involved," said Sheriff Gene Mitchell.

"Ruiz had made comments, about Martinez's family, derogatory remarks and that lead to it they were doing some business together but actually those remarks lead to this thing flaring up," said Mitchell.  

Police found the victim's body on County Road 84 in the Speake community in March.

Deputies had Martinez in custody shortly after the murder, but couldn't hold him. 

"We didn't have the case developed to the point that we felt like we could move forward on it at that time," said Mitchell.  "We released him, he went back to Mexico." 

It's when he tried to return to the United States he was arrested and placed in a Yuma, Arizona jail. 

Investigators believe Martinez is responsible for pulling the trigger in Ruiz's death. They said he also confessed to the murders of two people that happened in 2006 in Florida, and he's suspected in a California murder.

Jaime Romero, of Huntsville, is also charged with the murder of Ruiz. Deputies arrested him in March.

Sheriff Mitchell said Romero's charges may be reduced in the future.  

"We don't believe his involvement was as serious as what it originally appeared although he was there," he said.  "It's not like he was pulled out of a hat but we don't believe the intent was there and we will work with the district attorney to do what's right, whatever that is."

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