The Johnston County man accused of a triple homicide in November will spend the rest of his life behind bars after a plea agreement was entered in court Thursday morning.
Armando Martinez, 40, pleaded guilty to shooting three people inside a Woods Crossroads Home on the evening of Nov. 12.
Mr. Martinez’s two stepdaughters and one of the girls fiancée were killed. A fourth victim is still recovering from gunshot wounds he received during the incident.
Killed were Pamela Jean Ramos, 32, her sister, 27-year-old Jessica Rubio Aguilar, and Ms. Ramon’s boyfriend, 36-year-old Ledis Alberto Lopez. Mr. Martinez also shot and critically wounded Mrs. Aguilar’s husband, Jose Rubio Aguilar, 30.
As a part of the plea agreement, Mr. Martinez was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without parole. He also agreed to serve between 125 and 162 months in prison on attempted first-degree murder.
He was initially charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and one count of larceny of a motor vehicle.
Prosecutors told the judge during Thursday morning’s hearing Mr. Martinez confessed to police he had committed the murders shortly after being taken into custody.
Mr. Martinez said only “yes” when asked by the judge if he was guilty of the crimes.
According to a source who wished to remain anonymous, Mr. Martinez opened fire with a .22 caliber rifle after the family had tried to persuade him to seek help for his drinking and illegal drug abuse.
According to the source, Mr. Martinez had been an illegal drug user and was confronted by his wife and her daughters — the two female victims — to end his drug use.
A verbal altercation ensued between Mr. Martinez and his family members which led to Mr. Martinez retrieving the rifle after he expressed his displeasure with their efforts.
When the argument began there were four children in the home ages 10, 9, 2 and 1 years old. None of the children were physically harmed during the shooting spree that erupted shortly after the verbal altercation began.
The oldest of the children took the other three to a bedroom and locked the door fearing for their lives, the source said.
Ms. Ramon was the mother of the three youngest children and Mrs. Aguilar was the mother of the oldest child.
At the time of the shooting, Johnston County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Benji Gaddis offered The Daily Record an approximate time line of the events which unfolded.
At some point Mr. Martinez shot Mrs. Aguilar in the chest and her sister in the face and shot Mr. Lopez, leaving the victims to die.
Ms. Ramos made her way outside before she succumbed to her gunshot wounds.
A total of 14 shots were fired, with 13 striking the victims, during the incident.
Immediately after the shooting, Mr. Martinez took his wife’s pickup truck and was involved in a one-vehicle crash before being taken into custody.
He was captured by Harnett County deputies, who found him walking near the intersection of West Core Road and N.C. 55 near Dunn.
Mr. Martinez’s wife was granted a request to hug her husband before he left the courtroom Thursday morning. Prosecutors told the court she also agreed to the plea agreement.