Two Santa Rosa men sentenced for being accessories to kidnapping, murder of Cloverdale man in marijuana deal
Two Santa Rosa men were sentenced for being accessories in the murder of a Cloverdale man who was kidnapped and shot last year in what authorities described as a marijuana deal gone bad.
Felix Fernando Carreon, 43, was sentenced to six years in state prison Friday for his role in the attack, with an enhancement for committing a previous felony, court records show. A second man, Climmie Smith-Hill, 30, received three years probation.
A third suspect, Healdsburg resident Socorro Sierra, 34, remains behind bars at the Sonoma County Jail.
He faces felony charges for murder, kidnapping and possession of a controlled substance while armed. His trial is expected to begin March 22.
The victim, Jose Martinez, 46, was last seen by his family around midnight on June 29 when he headed to bed. Hours later, Martinez was captured on surveillance video outside the Ray’s Food Place grocery store in Cloverdale, where detectives with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office suspect he was kidnapped, though the kidnapping was not captured on video.
Detectives later learned from family that Martinez was involved in “significant marijuana dealings” and had received threats from Sierra, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Sierra was arrested on July 17, soon after the Sheriff’s Office made a break in the case when they located Martinez’s white Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, which also disappeared, east of Piner High School. A 9mm semiautomatic handgun believed to be the weapon used to kill Martinez was found in Sierra’s vehicle, authorities said.
Smith-Hill was arrested early the next day. Martinez’s body was found hours later, unearthed from a 6-foot grave at a marijuana garden off West Dry Creek Road, located west of Healdsburg.
Carreon was already in custody for an unrelated drug charge out of Santa Rosa at the time.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office did not clarify how the truck’s discovery helped lead authorities to the three suspects, though they theorized the group drove Martinez to the top of Geysers Road, near the Geysers geothermal area, and shot him in a creek drainage.
Authorities suspected Sierra returned to the creek a day after the shooting and drove Martinez’s body to a marijuana garden, and with the help of Carreon, buried the body.
Lawyers for both Smith-Hill and Carreon said the men stayed inside a car used to transport Martinez to the shooting site, but did not participate in the shooting itself, which happened away from the car.
Smith-Hill moved Martinez’s truck after learning of the shooting, but played no role in the burial, Evan Zelig, Smith-Hill’s lawyer, said in an email Monday. Smith-Hill was released from custody after the sentencing, Zelig added.
Erik Bruce, Carreon’s lawyer, also said Carreon did not help with the burial, but declined to give additional details about Carreon’s role as an accessory in the case. Carreon reached the six-year prison term in a plea deal with prosecutors, according to Bruce.
You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.