Final suspect in 2017 Edinburg kidnapping, murder sentenced to 18 years

Sandy Lutz

The final suspect in a 2017 kidnapping turned murder pleaded guilty on Monday morning.

Court records indicate that 32-year-old Edinburg resident Sandy Lutz reached a plea deal with prosecutors that sent her away to state prison for 18 years.

Lutz is one of four people charged in the Nov. 8, 2017, kidnapping and killing of 32-year-old Jose Angel Martinez, whose throat was slit after the defendants kidnapped him and dragged him through the streets.

Her plea comes nearly a year after the plot’s mastermind, 37-year-old Gabino Salinas, went to trial where he was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In early March, 49-year-old Hector Ruben Guerra pleaded guilty for his role and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. On Jan. 30, 26-year-old Benjamin Chavez Sanchez also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The crime was heinous.

Testimony during Salinas’ trial revealed that Martinez’s roommate, Ricardo Moreno, who was also kidnapped, was forced to dismember Martinez’s body.

Salinas, Sanchez, Guerra and Lutz assaulted Martinez and Moreno at their Edinburg residence before kidnapping the men.

Surveillance video shown at Salinas’ trial depicted Martinez being tied to Salinas’ Jeep Grand Cherokee and dragged through the street before he was taken to an orchard where he was killed.

Prosecutors said during the trial that the motive behind the killing was that Salinas believed Martinez was responsible for a home invasion where Salinas lost his leg after being shot.

Moreno, the roommate, took the stand during that trial and said that he and Martinez were stabbed multiple times in the orchard, though he couldn’t see much because he was blindfolded.

He also told the jury that he and the group of perpetrators drank beer and smoked crack after Martinez was killed.

Moreno was forced to bury Martinez in a makeshift grave.

Lutz had initially been charged with capital murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

After reaching a deal, she instead pleaded guilty to murder and prosecutors moved to dismiss the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges, which the judge approved.

She will receive credit toward her sentence for a little more than five years she has spent in the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center since her arrest.