Woman Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping Husband

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A San Bernardino woman who drugged her husband, strangled him with a clothesline and dumped his body into an irrigation ditch near Mexicali pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges Monday.

Isabel Martinez, 37, told authorities she killed Raul Bethancourth on Aug. 16, 2003, after years of physical and emotional abuse committed by her husband, a masonry worker. In her plea agreement, Martinez said she gave Bethancourth several sleeping pills after he had been drinking alcohol and then drove him to Mexico, where she strangled him.

Martinez filed a missing-persons report with San Bernardino police but made a videotaped confession to police less than three weeks later, federal officials said. She faces up to 25 years in prison when she is sentenced in U.S. District Court in Riverside.