A jury acquitted Jose Martinez of taking part in the contract killing of well known dirt track racer Quincy Turner, but a federal judge is still sending him to prison for life.
U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny, in determining Martinez’s sentence Wednesday, found there was enough evidence at trial, despite the acquittal, to find him responsible for Turner’s murder.
Turner, a prominent figure on the dirt track scene, was gunned down in 2008 outside his Chautauqua County repair shop.
Prosecutors said the killing stemmed from Martinez’s belief that Turner was cooperating with investigators looking into their drug dealing activities.
Martinez, a Jamestown man accused of issuing a contract to kill Turner, was found not guilty after an eight-week trial in Buffalo federal court two years ago.
The jury did find him guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
In sentencing Martinez to life, Skretny said he found enough evidence of his role in the murder to make it part of his relevant criminal conduct and sentence him to the maximum possible penalty.
Prosecutors say Turner was working in his Town of Ellicott repair shop, a vacant fire station near the Jamestown airport, when four unwanted visitors suddenly showed up to see him.
During the trial, they argued that the four men were there to carry out Martinez’s contract, a $20,000 hit on a man he was convinced was “snitching” on him.
Martinez’s sentence is the culmination of a DEA investigation and a federal prosecution that started as a death penalty case, in large part because of Turner’s alleged role as a confidential informant.
Prosecutors say Turner was prepared to give up Martinez as the primary source of cocaine he sold in and around Jamestown.