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Man charged with 9 contract killings

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POSTED April 8, 2014 7:47 p.m.

FRESNO  (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.

Martinez is from Richgrove  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.

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