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The Life Of One Of America’s Bloodiest Hitmen

When Jose Manuel Martinez was arrested for the murder of an Alabama man in 2013, he made a decision not to involve his family in an investigation, and admitted to killing more than 35 men over several decades.

Martinez, who was born and spent most of his life in California, said that for three decades he had worked as a gun for hire, collecting debts and killing people across the United States. Police say that work was often for Mexican drug cartels, though in a few cases he also killed people just because they pissed him off. Martinez refused to say anything about the drug business, including whom he worked for or with. But he was more than happy to talk about bodies. And about his own prowess in killing. They called him El Mano Negra, he said — the Black Hand.

The dead were young and old, drug dealers and farm laborers, fathers and husbands. But always men. They were scattered across as many as 12 states, but his primary killing ground was Tulare County, a little-populated land of vast green fields and listless, sunblasted farm towns in California’s Central Valley, where Martinez had been born and raised.

“You want to know who killed them all?” he asked at one point. “I killed them all.”

The stunning part of Martinez's crimes was that so many of the unsolved murders had received scant attention and little investigation. Read about the 30-year career of a hitman who almost got away with it at Buzzfeed. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Matt Rota for BuzzFeed News)

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