A probationer accused of fatally shooting a 40-year-old man during a confrontation in Mecca must stand trial for murder and other offenses, a judge ruled Friday.
Gilbert Contreras Martinez, 31, allegedly killed Hugo Nunez in April 2018.
Following a preliminary hearing Friday morning in Indio, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Johnnetta Anderson ruled there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the murder count, as well as being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
Anderson scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Nov. 1 at the Larson Justice Center. Martinez is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
According to sheriff’s officials, Martinez allegedly confronted Nunez in the 91-000 block of Fifth Street, near Lincoln Street, on the night of April 8, 2018. For reasons not disclosed, Martinez shot the victim multiple times with a handgun, then fled the area, investigators allege.
Witnesses called 911, and Nunez was taken to a Coachella Valley trauma center, where he died later that night.
Detectives immediately identified Martinez as the alleged gunman, but he eluded capture for a year.
Deputies spotted Martinez driving in the area of South Balboa Street and Westerfield Way in Coachella on April 6, 2019, where he was pulled over and taken into custody without a struggle, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez.
Court records show that Martinez has prior convictions for reckless driving, spousal abuse and carrying a loaded firearm in public without a permit.
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