VENTURA : Suspect in Killing Held in New Mexico
A suspect in the October slaying of a Canadian woman near Carpinteria and the wounding of an Oxnard man in Ventura was captured at a New Mexico checkpoint, authorities said.
James Lindsey Martin, 37, of Tuttle, Okla. was arrested Wednesday by Border Patrol and Drug Enforcement Administration agents at a checkpoint north of the Mexican border, according to Tim Gracey of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department.
Martin was wanted in connection with the shooting death of Evelyn Hendrix, 68, of Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, whose body was found off Casitas Pass Road near Carpinteria. The motor home Hendrix was driving was missing.
Less than a week later, a man police believe was Martin was staying at San Buenaventura State Beach in a motor home with British Columbia license plates and befriended Lloyd Johnson of Oxnard.
In an incident that left investigators puzzled, police believe that Martin ordered Johnson to kneel on the floor of the motor home and shot him in the head. Johnson was grazed in the neck and survived.
Police later found the motor home at the Oxnard Airport, but the suspect did not return to it during a 24-hour stakeout.
Wednesday’s arrest came three days after Santa Barbara detectives flew to Ft. Smith, Ark., in search of Martin after receiving a tip that he was staying with relatives there, Gracey said.
But “Martin got wind of the investigation and fled,” Gracey said.
Ventura Police Sgt. Bob Anderson said the hunt for Martin was complicated because he kept moving between states. “It was a painstaking process to keep pace with him, let alone catch up with him,” Anderson said.
On Wednesday, Martin was alone when his car approached a highway checkpoint in New Mexico not far from the Mexican border. He appeared nervous and the agents questioned him, Anderson said.
Martin said his name was Gary Tilman, and a computer check with the National Crime Information Center matched that alias to the missing suspect, Anderson said.
He was taken into custody without incident and was taken to Otero County Jail in Alamogordo, N.M., where he is being held pending extradition.
Martin fled Oklahoma less than a month before the two shootings. He had an extensive arrest record for property crimes and faced a possible sentence of 20 years to life at a Sept. 30 court date.