Chicano rap artist arrested in Mexico in 2002 house party slaying

It took almost 14 years, but the law finally caught up with murder suspect Jose Martin. 

Known by the stage name “Conejo,” Martin had been performing as a Chicano rap artist in Mexico for years.

While on the run, Martin established his own label, Felony Case Records, and set up an apparel line, selling shirts, sweatshirts, music and framed pictures of himself.

Martin’s rap aspirations were cut short recently however, when Los Angeles police detectives and members of the FBI Fugitive Task Force found him in Baja California and arrested him. Martin was returned to Los Angeles and booked on suspicion of murder, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

More than a decade ago, authorities issued an arrest warrant for Martin in connection with the death of Mario Eduardo Gutierrez.

Gutierrez, 25, had attended a party on Nov. 3, 2002, at a home in the 4800 block of West 48th Street in the Vermont Square neighborhood, according to police.

At some point during the party, the deejay got into a fight with several gang members.

Gutierrez tried to stop the fight by firing several shots into the air.

But several people rushed him and took his gun away, police said.

They grabbed his arms and legs and carried him away from the party. Once they were outside the home, they shot Gutierrez several times. He died at the scene.

Police said Martin was identified as one of the suspects involved in Gutierrez’s death.

But shortly after the slaying, Martin fled to Mexico, police said.

By Wednesday, news of Martin’s arrest spread on social media.

On the rapper’s Facebook page, someone had posted the message “Free Conejo.” Conejo means rabbit in Spanish.

Martin’s Facebook page also featured a video of a man wearing a ski mask and hockey mask lip-syncing to a track entitled “Stay Gangsterific.” Days earlier, he released an album on iTunes – one of dozens.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

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