Feb. 11--When two Coral Springs detectives followed a lead to an unsolved murder case all the way to New York, they obtained the key piece of evidence they needed by digging through the trash at a Whole Foods Market on the Upper West Side.
The DNA found in a discarded lemonade bottle linked Jason David Martinez, 28, a former Coral Springs resident, to the 2011 murder of Michael Todd Hamilton, authorities announced Friday.
Martinez was arrested Oct. 19 in Port Jefferson, N.Y., and was extradited to Broward County on Thursday.
"He had been appealing the extradition," said Coral Springs Sgt. Carla Kmiotek. "Now the case can move forward."
Hamilton's roommate found his body when she came home before dawn on July 10, 2011. She thought he had committed suicide.
But authorities examined the crime scene and quickly determined Hamilton, 31, had been stabbed to death and his throat cut after an apparent struggle inside the apartment at Devonair on 33rd, in the 9800 block of Northwest 33rd Street. There was a broken lamp; broken glass littered the floor.
Near Hamilton's body, investigators found a bloody piece of a latex glove that appeared to have been ripped out during a struggle inside the apartment, according to Martinez's arrest warrant. Investigators also found drops of blood near the body that belonged to someone else, the warrant said.
Two sets of footprints were also found at the crime scene that didn't match Hamilton, his roommate or her boyfriend, the report said.
Detectives think Hamilton was brutally murdered during a robbery inside his home, according to the warrant. When inspecting the crime scene, investigators discovered that $360 cash, about $100 worth of marijuana and an M-4 replica Airsoft rifle were taken from the apartment, the warrant said. Hamilton's wallet, which had been emptied, was found on the floor near his body, the warrant said.
Martinez was interviewed by investigators the day after the murder, when detectives were in the process of interviewing those who knew Hamilton. He told investigators he and Hamilton would smoke marijuana together and he had previously sold him marijuana and cocaine.
During that interview, Martinez said he had not been to Hamilton's apartment in the last month and claimed he had been out fishing at the Pompano Beach Pier until 4 a.m. on the night of the murder.
At the time, detectives noticed a fresh cut on Martinez's hand, which he said happened while cleaning fish he had caught the night before.
During the course of the investigation, detectives interviewed more than 40 people and compared each person's DNA to the blood found at the crime scene. By that time, Martinez had moved to New York, so investigators flew there to get a DNA sample from him.
Detectives followed Martinez into the Whole Foods Market, where they grabbed the lemonade bottle he had thrown into a trash can.
The swabs taken from the bottle matched the DNA found in the blood droplets at the crime scene, authorities said.
Detectives then met with Martinez at one of the New York Police Department precinct offices and asked if he would give a voluntary DNA sample, which he declined to do.
Authorities are looking for at least one other person involved in the murder, Kmiotek said.
Coral Springs detectives are also seeking to speak with anyone who has had contact with, or personally knew Martinez, before or after the murder.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Brian Koenig at 954-346-1229, e-mail at [email protected] or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.
[email protected], 954-356-4544 or Twitter @rebecapiccardo
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