Santa Rosa, CA – January 24, 2020 – Defendant Socorro Sierra, 35 years old of Healdsburg, was sentenced today by the Honorable Dana Simonds for the 2018 murder of Jose Evelio Martinez, a 46 year old resident of Cloverdale and longtime employee of Friedman’s Home Improvement. The court handed down a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury convicted Sierra in November of first-degree murder and kidnapping. Sierra was sentenced to an additional 25 years to life due to firearm enhancements.
In the spring of 2018, Sierra and the victim entered into a marijuana deal, which quickly became combative. As the victim tried to extricate himself from his relationship with the defendant, Sierra became increasingly resentful and started pressuring Martinez for money. On June 30, 2018, Sierra, together with two other men, drove Martinez to a remote bridge in the Geysers where Sierra killed the victim with a single gunshot to the head. Sierra then buried the victim’s body on his marijuana grow near Healdsburg, planting a marijuana plant on top of the grave. The victim’s family, at a loss over the victim’s sudden disappearance, searched for Martinez throughout the area, made posters, and turned to social media in their efforts to locate Martinez. Three weeks later Sonoma County Sheriff’s detectives received investigative leads pointing them towards Sierra, who eventually confessed to killing Martinez. Ultimately, Sierra showed detectives where he had buried the victim’s body. At trial Sierra unsuccessfully claimed that he killed the victim in self-defense.
The case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Jamar and Deputy District Attorney Martina Kitzmueller, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Robyn Katz, Detective Jesse Hanshew of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office headed the investigation.