USA News

Man who killed romantic rival outside Midway District gym sentenced to 45 years to life

A man who gunned down a romantic rival four years ago outside a gym near the Midway District, then hid out for two years in Mexico, was sentenced Friday to 45 years to life in state prison.

Ernesto Castellanos Martinez, 46, pleaded guilty last year in San Diego Superior Court to first-degree murder and a gun-use allegation for shooting 27-year-old Alexander Mazin on Feb. 25, 2018. Mazin died at the scene of the shooting outside the 24 Hour Fitness near Midway Drive and Kemper Street.

The victim’s parents told reporters their son had been going out with a woman Martinez previously dated, and that the suspect had assaulted her several weeks prior to Mazin’s slaying. Mazin and the woman had been dating for about three months at the time of his killing.

An off-duty sheriff’s deputy who witnessed the fatal altercation said he saw a gunman chasing two men through the parking lot. The witness said that Mazin fell and Martinez stood over him and shot him.

Police believed Martinez ended up later that day in a retail and residential complex at 30th and Upas streets in North Park. SWAT officers surrounded the location, but when they entered hours later, the suspect wasn’t there — and he wasn’t found for more than two years.

Martinez, who was reportedly a mixed martial arts and boxing coach, was arrested in Mexico and extradited to San Diego in March 2020. Prior to his plea, Martinez faced a potential sentence of life in prison without parole had he been convicted of first-degree murder and a special-circumstance allegation of lying in wait.

Before Mazin’s parents and brother delivered victim impact statements at Martinez’s sentencing hearing, the defendant said through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, “I don’t want to hear this.” and asked to waive the interpreter’s services for the remainder of the hearing.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide denied that request.

Mazin’s family members said he worked at a Pacific Beach tattoo removal business, where he often helped felons and former gang members get their tattoos removed in order to avoid barriers to gaining employment.

Mazin’s father, Jeffrey, a retired surgeon, said he had to give up his life’s work because the grief caused by his son’s death was too much to bear. He said the family’s lives have been “always and forever ruined by the ruthless, senseless, horrendous murder of our Alexander” and called Martinez “the jealous, cowardly excrement of society,” and “the devil incarnate.” He also said the defendant was “the embodiment of evil.”

Penelope Mazin said she still remembers kissing her youngest son before he left for the gym and was “grateful for that last time to say goodbye.”

Despite the more than four years that have passed since her son’s death, she said, “I still can’t grasp that this evil could have happened to a young man who was so easy to love and who always avoided conflict, and did his best to bring beauty and kindness to life.”



File source

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close