LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT & CNN) - A man being held in the Lawrence County Jail has reportedly confessed to killing more than 30 people across the country.
52 year-old Jose Martinez was transferred to Lawrence County shortly after being apprehended by authorities in Yuma, Arizona earlier this month. According to CNN, Martinez told detectives he is a hired assassin for a Mexican cartel and that he committed his first murder when he was 16 years old.
Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell told WHNT News 19 that the first domino fell when Martinez recently confessed to gunning down 32 year-old Jose Ruiz off a backwoods roadway near Speake in early March. The Sheriff said things quickly snowballed from there, as Martinez allegedly started telling investigators about other murders he had committed, totaling thirty in all. Authorities said Martinez has already been linked to two unsolved killings in Florida, and at least ten more in California.
"He's been very forthcoming on the case we arrested him on," said Sheriff Mitchell. "He went through the case and gave us information that no one else would have had...There's gonna be others I think he'll tell us about as we go along, and we'll continue to work with him and see how far we get with it."
Martinez's daughter lives in Huntsville, and declined to comment on her father's arrest.
Authorites said Jose Martinez's alleged confession also played a role in murder charges being dropped against Huntsville resident Jaime Romero, who was initially charged in the Lawrence County killing. Investigators said that murder was not drug-related, but did not elaborate on the motive that was reportedly provided by Martinez.