Syltoya Sterling 5:30 p.m., Sept. 3
A Belated Arrest for Wife's Murder
History haunts a homicidal husband.
810 South Sunshine, El Cajon September 7, 2007, 6:25 a.m. El Cajon PD 32.785614, -116.964662
Detectives from the El Cajon Police Department Special Investigations Unit arrested Celestino Mendez Martinez, DOB 5-19-64, on a warrant for the murder of his wife, Magdalena Martinez, DOB 08-15-62, in 1988. Martinez and the victim were married, but had separated. Martinez made arrangements to visit the victim and their children at the victim’s parents’ home. Upon his arrival, Martinez and the victim began arguing, and he fatally stabbed her, according to Lt. Tim Henton. Martinez took one of the children and fled to Mexico. El Cajon Police detectives worked with Mexican authorities, which located and arrested Martinez. The Mexican government, however, refused to extradite Martinez because he may have faced the death penalty for both murder and kidnapping. He was tried and sentenced for the crime in Mexico. “Martinez served only five years in prison for the murder of his wife,” states Henton. In Mexico's penal code, “Articulo 4,” Mexican citizens are subject to arrest and prosecuted for a crime committed in the United States. Investigators learned that after his release from prison, Martinez re-entered the United States and obtained identification using a false name. He has been living and working in Oceanside.
Detective Richard Rouleau of the Cold Case Homicide Unit began investigating the whereabouts of Martinez. After reviewing the case, he contacted the District Attorney’s Office and obtained a $3,000,000.00 arrest warrant for Martinez. Rouleau found that Martinez had been receiving mail at an address in Oceanside.
A team of detectives set up around the residence in Oceanside, and saw a person matching 43-year-old Martinez’ description leave in a vehicle. The detectives followed the vehicle and called for assistance from the Oceanside Police Department. The vehicle was stopped. The driver was identified as Martinez and taken into custody, then booked into the Vista Detention Facility.
A 2004 change in California law allows for the second trial of murder; prosecutors were barred from trying someone already convicted in another country.
On September 25, in an El Cajon arraignment court, Martinez plead not guilty. He is being held without bail.