James Martin

The DNA from a 14-year-old Bronx girl's unsolved murder case helped bring her killer to justice after 18 years.

James David Martin, who is in his 40s, pleaded guilty Thursday to the 1998 murder and rape of Marleny Cruz.

Martin pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in Bronx Supreme Court, and will be sentenced to 20 years in prison, the NY Daily News reports.

The suspected serial rapist and killer is already serving between 22-44 years in a Pennsylvania prison for strangling his wife to death when she threatened to leave him in 2005.

NY Daily News -- Police found Cruz’s partially clothed body dumped on Valentine Ave. in University Heights on Feb. 23, 1998. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

Her death was a cold case until the Bronx Homicide Squad and the district attorney’s office discovered Martin’s DNA underneath Cruz’s fingernails – using new technology to re-test the evidence.

At age 17, Martin killed a high school classmate for his coveted Air Jordan sneakers. The murder made the May 14, 1990 cover of Sports Illustrated.

James Martin

  • harley_quinn2.0

    I'm glad her killer was brought to justice. Prayers for her family.

  • Let Your Soul Glow

    What a piece of trash! Glad her family got some justice. Hope they can be at peace now.

  • harley_quinn2.0

    At age 17, Martin killed a high school classmate for his coveted Air Jordan sneakers.

    ^^^^^
    They should've locked him up and threw away the key. He should've never seen the light of day after this.

  • SpillyNillie

    So after killing a classmate at the tender age of 17, he was allowed to live outside the confines of a prison cell?!?!?!??

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    This is awful. Glad the family got closure.

  • SpillyNillie

    ^^^
    100!

  • brooklyn23

    Fckin monster. I never get why males rape, there's easy free p^say they can get wtf. Maybe for some it's about control , having someone fear them, they get gratification. Still all rapist/molesters should be tortured daily until they die

  • iyonah

    Damn...this is sad, he was sick and demented for a long time. I wonder what happened with the murder when he was 17?

  • iyonah

    Damn...this is sad, he was sick and demented for a long time. I wonder what happened with the murder when he was 17?

  • iscream

    How much time did he get for the 1st murder? He's in his 40s so he was in HS in the late 80s early 90s but was free to kill this girl in 1998?

    The system is so screwed. No sympathy for this animal I hope he dies in prison.

  • iscream

    How much time did he get for the 1st murder? He's in his 40s so he was in HS in the late 80s early 90s but was free to kill this girl in 1998?

    The system is so screwed. No sympathy for this animal I hope he dies in prison.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    GM Blog ?
    Glad her family will have peace

  • PettyEyezPrime

    GM Blog ?
    Glad her family will have peace

  • iyonah

    I was wondering why he would have even been free to be able to hurt other people. I don't always agree with locking teens away for life but stories like this always make me feel like 15-20 ain't so bad and maybe rehabilitation thereafter.

  • iyonah

    I was wondering why he would have even been free to be able to hurt other people. I don't always agree with locking teens away for life but stories like this always make me feel like 15-20 ain't so bad and maybe rehabilitation thereafter.

  • iyonah

    THIS. I never understand it, many willing to give p**** for free or simple barter and exchange. Never need to violate anyone, literally no need.

  • iyonah

    THIS. I never understand it, many willing to give p**** for free or simple barter and exchange. Never need to violate anyone, literally no need.

  • SpillyNillie

    In the meantime I have a cousin serving 20 to life for drug possession. This man was allowed out and killed two more innocent victims. The system...

  • SpillyNillie

    In the meantime I have a cousin serving 20 to life for drug possession. This man was allowed out and killed two more innocent victims. The system...

  • PettyEyezPrime

    So many killers are placed back on the street to kill again when they shouldn't while drug dealers in jail for years for non-violent crimes.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    So many killers are placed back on the street to kill again when they shouldn't while drug dealers in jail for years for non-violent crimes.

  • SpillyNillie

    Right! I just said this up top...

  • SpillyNillie

    Right! I just said this up top...

  • http://yeuphonic.com @yeuphonic
  • http://yeuphonic.com @yeuphonic
  • PettyEyezPrime

    You know how fugged your mind has to be to kill behind some sneakers you won't be able to fit in 3 months?

  • PettyEyezPrime

    You know how fugged your mind has to be to kill behind some sneakers you won't be able to fit in 3 months?

  • harley_quinn2.0

    This! He killed that boy in '89. Less than 10 years later he's back on the streets to kill again. The justice system is fukced.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    He DEFINITELY should have not been released after this
    http://www.complex.com/sneakers/2015/05/your-sneakers-or-your-life-25-years-later

  • PettyEyezPrime

    It truly is. The article I just read and linked above, smh. He should have been institutionalized from the jump.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    I also linked a story from complex ^^^

  • Petty Patty Cakes

    It's about control, not sex necessarily. This man had a wife and was still out there assaulting people. Also, some of these guys get off on the victim's fear or have fantasized about torturing women and have finally acted on it.

    Sick flucks

  • PettyEyezPrime

    He sodomized the boy whose sneakers he stole. He was fukced from the beginning

  • semaj24philly

    Finally at peace.Rest well.

  • harley_quinn2.0

    You've got to be kidding me?

  • TDK

    Wow so he killed and raped the boy, then stole his shoes. Spent 7 years in jail, got out strangled and stabbed his cousin, got out again, strangled and killed his girlfriend. oh and this young lady as well. Meanwhile drug dealers are sentenced for life.

  • Petty Patty Cakes

    Indeed. When young people show violent/sadistic tendencies they need to be watched like a hawk. Anyone out there mutilating baby animals too. They'll move on to humans soon enough.

  • TDK

    7 years

  • TDK

    He raped that boy too

  • http://yeuphonic.com @yeuphonic
  • TDK

    Killing and raping him. ??

  • PettyEyezPrime

    Yes, scary. I know something had to happen to him as a child. Still...

  • TDK

    He also raped him, so it wasn't only the shoes. I think the shoes were a bonus.

  • Incog-knee-gress

    So this dude was going around killing folks via strangulation and raping them (he also raped his male classmate he stole the sneakers from back in the day too. When he was 17 years old) for years...and they kept letting him out?
    The Cruz family needs to sue the absolute shat out of the state of NY.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    Nope, read the complex article. This nig was killing EVERYDAMNBODY. His mama killed his sister too. Beat her to death.

  • Alicia.Ashe

    I didn't know he raped the guy. Should've been a lifer.

  • TDK

    Mom beat his sister to death, he probably saw it happen.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    He wasn't even crazy about sneakers. You don't take someone to the woods to steal sneakers. He was a serial rapist/killer. That was his first mind. So yes, sneakers were a bonus.

  • Let Your Soul Glow

    So he was a sociopath who wouldn't stop until they locked him up. Wow.

  • Alicia.Ashe

    I would also. Some below said people with drug offenses get more time. This dude killing and raping and still getting released.

  • Benita Renee’

    One sick individual!! Our justice system is extremely flawed!!!

  • PettyEyezPrime

    The problem is they locked him up. They also kept letting his crazy a$$ out to kill again and again.

  • MissyJ

    And got out a second dayum time to kill a 3rd person.... Tf

  • Petty Patty Cakes

    Serious anger issues. Lack of impulse control. Sadistic thoughts. Violent tendencies. Not to mention his mother murdered his sister. Scary dude.

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    Was he tried as a juvie in the first murder. This is a violent man. Strangled and stabbed his cousin, gets out of jail and murdered his girlfriend. This is crazy.

  • B.Sweet has e-white privilege

    This sick bastid has probably killed other people that we don't even know about.

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    The first one was in MD. Wonder how he was charged.

  • TDK

    And tried to kill his cousin also, stabbed and strangled him too.

  • Petty Patty Cakes

    Almost guaranteed

  • Incog-knee-gress

    Yes. There are folks out here committing robbery bc they cant find jobs etc who are getting hella time. This is messed up. That girl woulda been alive if it werent for the neglect of the judicial system.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    Yes he killed a long list of folks. Mama beat the sister to death when he was 6. He sodomized and strangled the boy and stole his sneakers. Martin murdered his girlfriend, Cicela Santiago, and left her body in a parking lot trash bin. Plus others. Allegedly.

  • Incog-knee-gress

    Reading one of those links below...they think its OTHERS as WELL. What kinda shat is this yo?

  • Incog-knee-gress

    Officials are indeed thinking that.

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    This is why folks need to get their kids counseling and the first sign of abnormal anger. So many of OUR kids are left undiagnosed because we don't believe in coiuseling, or that's just how they are, or whatever excuse we make to shield us from the truth.

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    I believe it.

  • TDK

    Probably as a juvenile

  • Alicia.Ashe

    Exactly. I hope her family does sue.

  • Incog-knee-gress

    He shoulda got it after seeing his mama beat the life outta his sister when he was 6. Before he even GOT angry

  • SugarFoot a.k.a Ty

    and they kept releasing him *blank stare*

  • PettyEyezPrime

    Serial killer/rapists and unfortunately because the judicial system fukced up royally, we will likely hear his name when he decides to release more names or DNA places him. SMH. ?

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    Exactly. Such a disservice to not do so.

  • Incog-knee-gress

    What article said. He aint eem LIKE sneakers like that

  • K. Maiza

    He killed at 17 and the state allowed him to kill two more times? Wow

  • PettyEyezPrime

    Let me google and see what happened to mama after this. Where is her evil spirited murderous a$$? ?

  • Incog-knee-gress

    Hopefully dead.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    Yeah, this is what they're thinking

  • SpillyNillie

    I figured he had witnessed violence at a young age. He strangled all of his victims. Strangled his basketball teammate in the woods for his sneakers at 17! That says a lot about his mental.

  • SpillyNillie

    He raped him?!?!

  • Incog-knee-gress

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/12/nyregion/girl-killed-in-98-is-thought-to-be-victim-of-serial-killer-crime-scene.html

    The girl who got killed above, Marleny, her life wont no crystal stair either. Her grave was unmarked. Nobody ever claimed her body after it was found. Dad abused her. This story is absolutely fawking AWFUL this morning. Let me go find some more coffee.

    "She did not fall through the cracks — she was born there. Marleny grew up in the Dominican Republic with a mother who would be killed in a fight over drugs. Marleny moved to New Jersey to live with her father, whom she later accused of abusing her. She bounced around foster homes, sometimes staying just a couple of days before running away."

  • Low E. TUH!

    DAMN...THIS EDUCATION IS MAKING ME SAD.

  • harley_quinn2.0

    +1

  • SpillyNillie

    Just now catching up on the comments. He raped his teammate? Ain't no way "the system" didn't realize this boy had serious issues and would be a danger to society!

  • PettyEyezPrime

    This poor girl grew up in the DR and her mother was killed over drug. She was sent to live with her dad in Jersey who was accused of abusing her. Then bounced around a few foster homes then killed by this monster.

    Please can we get another post? PLEASE!!

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    Me too.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    We can hope

  • Incog-knee-gress

    Im done in this bish. Imma need more than coffee. I am going to Starbucks machine downstairs.

  • SugarFoot a.k.a Ty

    me too...shyt is crazy

  • harley_quinn2.0

    For real. My heart can take no more.

  • Incog-knee-gress

    A year later, back out of jail, he took a 17-year-old male relative to a rooftop in the Bronx, pulled the drawstring out of his sweat pants and looped it around the boy’s neck, Detective Reiman said. When the boy lost consciousness, Mr. Martin stabbed him in the neck with a knife and left the blade in, fleeing with $30.

    The boy awoke, pulled the knife out and made it to the hospital, where, Detective Reiman said, he pleaded with his family: “James did this to me. Don’t let James in here. He’ll finish me off.”

    Just then, “James walks in,” the detective said. He was arrested but was allowed to plead guilty to attempted robbery and was sentenced to five years.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Get us outta here by the time I come back pls. Sandra. Jesus.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    He's being linked to many more

    Hey Missy ?

  • SpillyNillie

    I'm sure this could go on forever. Like i said below...ain't no way "the system" didn't realize this boy had serious issues and would be a danger to society!

  • Incog-knee-gress

    They aint know he raped the teammate until later. They initially, for a long time it reads like...thought it was just over the sneakers.

  • PettyEyezPrime

    T H I S ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! I just said the same thing

  • DroneRivers

    So he's in his 40's and has at least 3 murders? Why the hell wasn't he given life as a teen for that first murder? Then maybe this poor girl and his wife would still be alive.

  • That’s Interesting

    If he killed somebody in 1990, why in the hell was he out in 1998 to kill this girl. Then to strangle his wife. Then rape and strangle only God knows who else. It's past time for this ***** to meet his Maker.

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    His cousin from an article I read.

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    ???

  • harley_quinn2.0

    After what he did to that boy, I would have no contact with him. I don't give a fcuk about him being a relative. I would've stayed as far away as possible.

  • DroneRivers

    The system is a joke. That's why I'm glad Obama is pardoning a lot of them.

  • ramosyo

    This Animal should die.... slowly

  • PettyEyezPrime

    NEW POST!!!!

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMarieNaturals Lovezoe

    Attempted robbery. Our justice system at work.

  • Low E. TUH!

    THE ARTICLE HAS A PICTURE...SHE WAS DECEASED IN SAID PICTURE. THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR A FRIDAY!

  • hotntot95

    I love DNA analysis..I definitely missed my calling...I watch ID channel all the time, its fascinating to solve a crime from something so small...

  • morenYAHdelsur

    Wtf why has this bastard been free for so long? 3 murders bruh?!

  • zawnn

    Right.. he's a serial killing machine... dun killed 3 people and counting!

  • zawnn

    Don't try to understand the mind of a rapist... if u watch the ID channel or escape or court tv etc.. you'll see , they all have different agendas. The one things for sure though they are all Very sick ND need 2 be put a dam way for good!

  • TDK

    How did they not know?

  • SummerBaby

    RIP to all his victims. ??

  • Renee26

    Such a failure of the system! He kills in 1990 then is out in 1998 to rape and kill this child. To make matters worse he's doing time for killing his wife but gets to plea first-degree manslaughter for a RAPE and MURDER??? Manslaughter should be reserved for accidents only. He intentionally murdered this child while committing another felonious act (rape)...how does this happen??

  • Vonn

    Who the hell would marry him?

  • Renee26

    Whaaat?? Where was this mentioned?

  • Renee26

    WOW

  • Renee26

    Bingo

  • Renee26

    OMG...smgdh

  • Renee26

    Watching his crazy momma

  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920

    He has mental issues. His family failed him as a youth. Now society has to pay the price for his family's negligence.

  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920

    That they now of.

  • guest

    He should've NEVA EVA been let out when killed the first time!!! SMDH US JUSTICE SYSTEMis backward and a disgrace for everyone.

  • Renee26

    Poor baby...I have the sads over this whole story

  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920

    OOOO, what article is that?

  • Queen B

    This niqqa a fvckin fool im glad he's off the streets for good

  • i troll it like i see it

    Jesus this man is a fiend. Just sick.

  • brooklyn23

    Only problem is that the people in authority that has the power to put these fools away for life are too twisted themselves. That's why these monsters get a slap on the hand,yet mofos who commit lesser crimes get the book thrown at them.

  • Mystery User

    so he just walking around choking people out? How Sway?

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    Victim was not white

  • TDK

    Shoes were a bonus, he couldn't even fit them. He raped him, then killed him.

  • yallcrazy

    Now he committed 3 horrendous crimes. 3! It took 2 times to figure out he's crooked and dangerous. He should've been in prison for life the first time when he killed for shoes. And like I said before these family members need to start warning people they dealing with and flagging authorities on these nut cases.

  • Araminta Glissade Chaines

    This dude is a CASE study in sociopathy

  • TDK

    Just saw a NY Times article that said he was caught groping this junkie that had passed out. She woke to him feeling her up. He was caught but only charged with possession of crack.

  • Cali

    Product of a Generational Curse. The most sickening thing is that he was let free after the first incident. Tell me that is not Satan!

  • Tiffany Miller

    Wow... that crime bill isn't looking so bad after all.

  • Guess Who

    Scum

  • Michelle

    Why was he even on the streets in the first place? Manslaughter? I don't think so. If the victims were white, he would have been charged with Capital Murder or Murder in the 1rst Degree. Twenty years is bullchit. He has killed THREE times. How about Life Without The Possibility Of Parole. This is ridiculous. He gets a sweetheart deal because he confessed to a crime which had his DNA? What did the state give him, a reward because they were too cheap and lazy to go to trial? Ridiculous....

  • Cali

    He's doing Satan's work! That is why he never really served that much time for his crimes.

  • imright

    how did he manage to still b free after killing some1 when he was 17? ???

  • ?Patty Kakes?

    God bless that child

  • LibraGirlonly

    He should have been locked up after he killed his classmate for some rubber.

  • thehumble1

    case closed... let him burn in prison. Send his azz to Rikers!

  • Freeriah

    Good they got him. The sentence isn't harsh enough. How many people did he get to kill in his life and he will still be let back on the streets.

  • morenYAHdelsur

    RIGHT! This crazy son of a bish could've done waaay more.

  • Tee Bullock

    Ridiculous!!!!

  • R in NYC

    Hell will not be hot enough for the likes of him.

  • TransHuman

    Hell don't even want this piece of chyt...

  • http://www.tiffanyinthecity.wordpress.com/ Tiffanyinthecity

    So wait - this n*gga killed someone at 17. Got out, got married and killed again. Then found guilty of this murder. After the FIRST murder his ass should've been rotting in jail. Some of this trash can't be rehabilitated. I'm not understanding how you can take a life in cold blood and not be given a life sentence.

  • Vixen

    Those were the 90's. If it wasn't for your Jordan's it was for your Towel jacket (bugs Bunny etc.), sports team jacket (Raiders etc.), jewelry and more.

  • Zebra Stripes

    Smh at this animal.

  • Zebra Stripes

    Smh at this animal.

  • Allihave2say

    He killed 3 people right?

  • http://www.tiffanyinthecity.wordpress.com/ Tiffanyinthecity

    Yup. But clearly got light ass sentences.

  • Allihave2say

    Wow. Just Wow. This dude is, killing is just in him. He's no good.

  • Tiara

    Exactly. My husband confided in me not long ago about his concern for our boys visiting his family. His family still lives in the community he did as a kid and he saw 2 men that went to jail 20 years ago for murder at the park. He said there are guys that went to jail for crack back when he was a teenager that received over 40 years and are still in prison. It's horrible that these men go back into the same communities where they murdered people yet those with nonviolent offenses spent most of their lives in prison.

  • WiserWords2

    Yes he was. His mother beat his sister to death. So I guess he was repeating the cycle.

  • JanusMaximus

    Why the eff was this MF on the streets after the first murder

  • JanusMaximus

    I don't think it's safe for other prisoners to be around this troll, he probably gonna kill again in prison; nothing to lose.

  • middleagerant42

    He was just crazy as hell! He killed at 17 then raped and killed the young girl and then murdered his wife? There are probably more they don't know about yet.

  • middleagerant42

    Omg he raped the boy too!? So he was just running killing and raping folks smh. This is too much.

  • Miss Thang

    He raped the boy he killed at 17 too.