Cold case solved? Detectives arrest man accused in 2007 Everett murder

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Jose Martinez

EVERETT, Wash. — Detectives say new information helped them make an arrest in the 2007 cold case murder of 23 year-old Jose Luis Martinez, who you see pictured.

The case surrounding Martinez’s death has been cold for 10 years, but Everett police say they’ve reviewed the case over and over again since the murder.

This year new witnesses came forward helping police identify and arrest a 34-year-old Everett man.

At about 9:00 p.m. on June 27, 2007, Luis and his two friends went to the apartments at 900 W. Casino Road to purchase marijuana as Luis had done before.

“Essentially, it was a drug deal. The victim actually is a pretty hard-working guy,” said Everett PD Det. Steve Brenneman when we talked to him in 2014 for a story on the case that aired on Washington’s Most Wanted.

Luis and his friends met a group of men at the location and one of the them took Luis’ money but did not return. Upset about getting ripped off, Luis demanded his money back. As things escalated, one of the men pulled a gun and shot at Luis and his friends. One friend was struck twice and Luis was fatally shot in the chest.

During the course of the investigation, detectives interviewed witnesses and pursued all leads but the case went unsolved.

Based on new tips, the case was reviewed in 2009, 2013 and 2015 which helped move the investigation forward and develop probable cause.

Melissa Ashby, 23-year-old Jose Martinez’s former fiance, spoke to Washington's Most Wanted in 2014.

“He was the funniest person I’ve ever met," she said. "He had a really good heart. I don’t know, he was just one in a million.”

He was her first love, she said, and she looked forward to a life together before he was murdered.

Even though it’s been more than a decade, for Melissa, the pain is still very much alive.

“It’s a big change, especially at the beginning because he had become such a big part of my life, and to have to get used to being without him, and then the pain of knowing that he was taken. He didn’t deserve to go that way,” Ashby said.

This year, several more witnesses provided information on the suspect and circumstances surrounding the shooting. Based on the new information, detectives developed probable cause to identify and arrest the 34 year-old Everett man.

After interviewing the suspect on Dec. 20, investigators booked him into Snohomish County Jail for investigation of murder. The suspect has not been identified because formal charges have not yet been filed.

“Normally in these interactions of drug transactions or something like that, both parties are kind of living in a crime lifestyle and in this case, the victim was not. By all accounts, he was a hard-working young man and was just hanging out with friends that evening and made a bad choice,” said Brenneman.