Love triangle troubles lead to filmed torture, recorded murder
10/10/2017 4:34 pm PDT
Two tapes of terror -- one on video -- one just audio. Both of them equally gripping and both of them at the center of a murder investigation involving a young Florida man.
We want to warn you: some of the details and images are quite graphic.
It's the voice of a man with only seconds to live. When cops arrive at the house, it's ransacked. The scene has all the markings of a robbery gone wrong.
But a bloody path also leads to a grisly murder scene.
[Warning: Graphic content]
Landy Martinez was raised in Miami after moving from Cuba with his family. And at 18 years old he came out as a gay man.
"I think, he didn't quite know what he was in the beginning when we first met and then kind of just, 'OK, I'm gay. Here I am, let's go,'" said Landy's friend Gail Rigg.
After high school, Landy moved to St. Petersburg, Florida finding work at an assisted living facility, where he met Gail Rigg. They would soon become best friends.
"Landy was a great guy, did his job really well, helped out the residents, and he was an awesome person," said Rigg.
But there had to be more to life than work, Landy wanted to meet someone special. It didn't take long to find someone looking for the same.
"Landy met Jose online and then drove to Miami to pick him up," said Gail.
Enter Jose Adame, a charming Latin lover who swept Landy Martinez off his feet.
"They lived together where they rented a bedroom from a couple, and in that residence there was another couple that lived there," Pinellas County Sheriff's Detective Edward Judy (Ret.).
"The relationship seemed OK, normal, me and Jose hung out when we first met because Landy had to go to work," said Gail Rigg.
But Gail says things soon took a dark turn, starting with a disturbing offer by Jose.
"He asked my 11-year-old son if he wanted to go back to the apartment and smoke weed and watch pornos," said Gail. "Landy was there when the incident happened. He was highly pissed."
It was enough to make the steamy romance fizzle out. Soon Landy Martinez said goodbye to Jose Adame, and moved on to find love with 26-year-old Jonathan Galacia.
"The relationship between Jonathan and Landy seemed more caring, loving," Gail tells Crime Watch Daily. "You saw more on Facebook of like cutsey things like the hearts in the sand stuff like that."
But cops say Landy Martinez's old housemates still had an uneasy feeling about Jose Adame.
"They were fearful of him. They put up security cameras," said retired Det. Ed Judy. "So they had access on their smartphones to these security cameras."
With an extra layer of protection, everything seemed calm. But out of camera shot, was there an ominous cloud of trouble brewing?
"Jose was jealous and capable of creating problems for Landy," said Judy. "Jose devised this plan to stalk or harass Landy."
Stung by rejection, it seemed Jose wanted Landy to pay for his broken heart -- quite literally.
Soon Jose began racking up tickets by speeding past a camera with a car Landy and Jose registered in both their names.
"The tickets went to Landy because Landy's name was on first, demanding payment and with the threat of suspending the driver's license," said Det. Judy.
But not to be outdone, Landy concocted a plan of his own.
"He contacted Jose and said 'Hey, I'd like to get back together with you, let's go out and see if we can't reconcile a relationship,'" said Det. Judy. "So in the meantime, Landy went down to the DHSMV and perfectly legal, removed Jose from the title."
The two agreed to meet at a fast-food joint. Jose thinks they're getting back together. But Landy has something else in mind.
"When he got there, Landy called the sheriff's office, requested a deputy to come up," said Det. Judy. "'I want him and his stuff out of the vehicle.'"
The former lover had no choice but to hand over the truck. Landy drove off leaving Jose fuming alone in the parking lot.
"I suspect that Jose was very angry for several reasons," said Det. Judy. "He thinks he's going to get back with a man that he loves; he loses his vehicle on top of that; on top of that he's stranded in a parking lot in St. Pete, Florida, where he has no family or residence."
But at least Landy Martinez and his new love Jonathan Galacia could find peace. Or maybe not.
"Jonathan said 'Look, I'm worried that you're going to go back to Jose,'" said Det. Judy.
All the drama with Jose soon bothered Jonathan, leaving him insecure about their future.
"[Landy] says 'It's over between me and Jose,' he says 'I can prove it,'" said Det. Judy.
To do that, Landy sets up a secret three-way phone call between his old lover and his new one. Jonathan silently listens.
"He's listening to Landy tell Jose that their relationship is over with again, that he has moved on, he has a new boyfriend," said Pinellas County Sheriff's Sgt. Robert Snipes (Ret.). "At the end of that phone call is when Landy says 'Oh by the way, he's in listening to this whole phone call.'"
If Jose is embarrassed by being tricked, he plays it cool.
"Jose told Jonathan that him and Landy were through, there was nothing to worry about, there was nothing to be jealous of, that he had moved on, had found a new boyfriend that bought him a red Lexus, and he had sent a picture of a red Lexus with him posing on it like a model," said Det. Judy. "Jonathan accepts all this. He says when they hang up the phone it's amicable."
But the next morning Jonathan gets a bizarre text -- a message completely opposite from what was said in the phone call. The text is from Landy, saying he changed his mind. He wants to get back together with Jose.
"The text said 'Listen, I don't know that I want to be with you anymore. I've thought about this. I really love Jose, I miss Jose, I'm going to go back to Jose,'" said Det. Ed Judy.
And now, a three-way lovers' tiff is about to explode.
Four days before Christmas in 2011. And inside one house in Florida, the tree is trimmed and the stockings are hung. But in the bedroom, police find a bloodbath.
"He had blood on his face, his mouth, on his arms, all over him," said Pinellas County Sheriff's Sgt. Robert Snipes (Ret.). "Literally all over him."
Landy Martinez's lifeless body is found splayed out on the floor in his home.
Just moments before, Landy made a desperate call to 911.
911: "911, is this a fire or medical emergency?"
Landy Martinez: "Send me your help! Help! They want to kill me, hurry up, please help me!"
The 911 operator tries to get an address, but can't.
911: "Where are you? What's the address? What's the address?"
Two gunshots are heard. Then the call ends with the deafening silence of death.
In a race against the clock, cops frantically search for Landy Martinez's location. Because he used a cellphone, pinging the tower can only reveal a general area. Finding the exact spot is like finding a needle in a hundred haystacks.
Incredibly, around the same time cops were feverishly searching for Landy's location, Landy's landlord, who is out of town, does a welfare check on the house via her smartphone. Oddly, she finds the cameras turned off. When she calls Landy, he doesn't pick up.
"The system had been up the night before and now it wasn't working in the morning," said retired Det. Ed Judy. "They knew something was wrong. They were adamant about it."
The landlord calls the sheriff, giving her home address, and sure enough it corresponds to the location they were searching for.
"So once her call comes in they go to that address," said Det. Judy. "They knock at the door, they walk around the residence, and they find a broken window, signs of forced entry into the back door."
At first glance the house looks like it was targeted by burglars: Broken glass, the screen removed, the door handle smashed.
"There was a huge 70-inch flat-screen TV. It had been taken off of the wall," said Det. Judy. "They actually set the television down on a pool table, so the items that would have been missing, they didn't get to complete."
Just a few hours into the discovery, cops hear more that raises suspicion. Two magazine salesmen were spotted in the neighborhood going door to door.
"We had neighborhood canvass detectives that were able to identify salesmen, solicitors, in the area," said Det. Judy.
And another possible lead points to two other suspicious men seen in the area that very morning.
"There were two Hispanic males that were seen walking at a fast pace away from the scene headed back in a direction towards where a car was parked at at the end of the road," said retired Sgt. Robert Snipes.
Then, as cops move through the home, something alarming captures their attention.
"The deputies also noticed blood in a couple of places that they were searching," said Snipes.
They follow the red path of blood straight to the bathroom.
"There was blood on the toilet, so obviously something had occurred in the bathroom, no doubt about that," said Det. Judy.
"Everything within that bathroom gives the appearance of someone that he had been tortured," said Sgt. Snipes.
Then as they round the corner to the bedroom, they make a gruesome discovery.
"He had been shot in the head and in the chest," said Det. Judy.
Cops wonder: Would a house burglar be out for so much blood?
"Everyone's a suspect. Did Landy have enemies at work? A relationship gone bad? Could this have been over money? Could this have been over drugs?" said Det. Judy.
When the forensics team takes over, what they find turns the investigation upside down.
"There was a cellphone found, an iPhone found between a mattress in Landy's room," said Det. Ed Judy.
Inside the phone, a harrowing video appears. As if speaking from the beyond the grave, near Landy Martinez's body, a macabre memento: the tragic final moments of his life captured on a disturbing torture tape.
[Warning: Graphic content.]
Who is behind the cellphone lens who recorded those 40 seconds? Who wanted Landy Martinez dead?
"He's crying and he's pleading for his life in Spanish," said retired Det. Judy.
You don't need to understand Spanish to hear the terror in his voice, and investigators now realize this was a very personal crime.
"He's in the shower, the water is running, he's standing up, he's in the white T-shirt, he's in the purple underwear, he's duct-taped on the hands across, and he's crying," said Det. Judy.
In the bathroom, cops find instruments of torture.
"They were threatening him with the Drano, either to drink it or put it in his eyes. They definitely had the knife, and they were just torturing him," said Det. Judy. "I believe they took the video for a trophy for later, for viewing pleasure."
But who exactly are "they?" What cops see on the video reveals a huge clue.
"You can tell his hands are secured, they're in front of him. The video is shot at a distance. So it's not a selfie," said Det. Judy.
And then more staggering evidence pours from that cellphone. Remember the strange texts that Landy sent to Jonathan professing his love for Jose?
"It appeared as though Landy was trying to break up with him," said retired Sgt. Robert Snipes.
Could the breakup texts be a motive for murder? It soon becomes crystal clear that Landy was no victim of an unknown intruder. Cops turn their attention to Landy's boyfriend, Jonathan Galicia.
"He's the new love interest, he's a suspect immediately," said Det. Judy.
Detectives pay Jonathan a visit at his home, about an hour's drive from the crime scene. Their first order of business: breaking the devastating news that Landy was killed.
"You can soften that all you want, but dead is dead," said Det. Judy. "He was very, very upset emotionally, his new love interest was deceased."
After aggressively questioning Jonathan Galicia, cops say he made a request that set off a warning signal.
"He said something to the effect of, 'Do I need an attorney?' Which now just lights up a little bell in the head of the detectives, and you know, 'Why do you think you need an attorney?' Just an odd thing to hear him say, so you know, now you're going to slow down even more, be even more thorough in your investigation of his alibi," said Det. Judy.
But after combing through surveillance video and cellphone records, Jonathan was cleared.
"Jonathan was ruled out through work records, co-worker interviews. There were surveillance at the company he worked for, so we saw where he was," said Det. Judy.
And the biggest alibi that ruled Jonathan out were text messages captured on Landy's phone around the time he was tortured. Cops confirm that Jonathan could not have been at the crime scene because his cellphone records placed him at his home more than an hour away.
"He was sending texts, he was calling and texting with Landy's cellphone. Landy wasn't texting back, one of the two perpetrators were, but we were able to see where those two phones were, you know, the one's at the crime scene and the other one's in Brooksville, 62 miles apart," said Det. Judy.
The body of Landy Martinez is found battered and bloody on the floor of his suburban home, and the list of possible suspects who murdered him is getting shorter.
Cops quickly clear his boyfriend, Jonathan Galicia. Two door-to-door salesmen are also cleared.
But still on cops' radar: The two unidentified Hispanic men seen leaving the scene. Who are they? They soon learn who one is: none other than Landy's ex-boyfriend Jose Adame. And the other man is Jose's nephew. One week later, authorities track Jose down in North Carolina.
"We enlisted the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service to locate Jose Adame for us," said Pinellas County Sheriff's Detective Ed Judy. "He was taken into custody for an arrest warrant on an unrelated case."
Investigators bring Jose Adame to the station and grill him about Landy's death. That interrogation is captured on an audio recording. Detectives first question him about how he learned Landy was dead. Jose claims he heard the news from a friend.
Jose Adame: "She said that if I knew what happened, and I'm like 'No, what?' And she said that he was dead, and I told her no, it wasn't true, 'Stop playing with me.'"
He then tells cops he was in North Carolina when Landy was murdered, but as Jose is about to find out, cops are one step ahead of his lies. They now know the breakup text sent to Landy's current lover Jonathan was really sent by Jose himself. And they say cellphone records place Jose in Florida near the scene of the crime.
Detective: "The problem is it doesn't seem like you're being truthful on some things. You were in Florida on Tuesday night and you were in Florida on Wednesday. You're going to need to explain that to us. How does that happen?"
Jose Adame: "I don't know."
Then, caught between his lies and his fears, Jose literally becomes ill.
Detective: "The only way this is going to stop this feeling of getting sick and feeling like this is when you get this off your shoulders. That's the only way it's going to stop, and you're the only one that can stop it."
"He spoke to us for a couple of hours, during that time he was actually vomiting in a garbage can at the jail, he denied participating in this offense, denied it completely," Det. Judy tells Crime Watch Daily.
Cops continue to hammer Adame with questions, but he doesn't budge.
"He denied everything," said Det. Judy. "He said it didn't happen, he actually denied that Landy was murdered. So the interview didn't go as well as we'd hoped for."
But Adame stayed locked up on unrelated burglary charges as cops continued to build a clear picture of the killing from start to finish.
"As we start to check out his statements, it turns out to be pure fabrication, it's pure lie, blatant lies on top of blatant lie, it just kept getting worse and worse," said Det. Judy.
What horrific events occurred from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning? The puzzle pieces quickly fall into place.
"They were coming there to talk to Landy," said Det. Ed Judy.
Cops say Jose Adame enlisted the help of his 16-year-old nephew, enticing him with the promise of televisions, video games and computers.
"They went to the residence, Landy hears the glass break, he goes back there, he's then confronted by one of the perpetrators, he's overpowered and he's taken to the bathroom, where he is duct-taped and tortured," said retired Det. Judy.
The brutality that took place in the bathroom is captured on an iPhone. But the unbelievable thing is, the attackers filmed Landy's torture on the wrong phone.
"Landy and Jose had matching iPhones," said Det. Judy. "They were both the ivory-pearl white phones. You couldn't tell them apart by looking at them. Jose got confused which one was his and which one was Landy's, and then they left it behind in the scene."
On that recording were 40 harrowing seconds of sheer horror.
"They were threatening him with the Drano, either to drink it or put it in his eyes," said retired Det. Ed Judy. "They definitely had the knife, we know they had a gun, and they were just torturing him."
And when the tape was translated into English, more shocking clues emerged.
"He makes a statement in Spanish that when it was translated loosely, that Jose was never the problem, that Jose was wonderful, and he was very sorry for all of the problems that he's ever caused in his life," said Det. Judy.
Cops say Landy was tortured for two hours, then the attackers put him in the bedroom while they ransacked the house. During those moments alone, Landy managed to call 911.
"He got a hold of that phone somehow," said Det. Judy. "When they broke the door in, he slid it underneath the mattress and then he ran to the other room, and that's when he was shot."
After gunning down Landy Martinez, and realizing that he had called 911, Jose Adame and his nephew panicked and took off.
A week later the getaway car was seized in Hickory, North Carolina at the trailer park where Adame's mother lived.
"We obtained a search warrant for that car," said Det. Judy. "We found blood. The steering wheel had Landy's blood on it, and we found more duct tape in the car."
With reams of incriminating evidence, the case went to trial. Landy's best friend Gail Rigg recalls her reaction to seeing Landy's killer in court for the first time.
"Jose was overweight," Gail tells Crime Watch Daily. "Didn't seem like he had any remorse. Just kind of like a blank look on Jose's face, you know, just like staring off into space."
Over the course of the two-day trial, the jury listened to the chilling last seconds of Landy Martinez's life, stunned to see the gut-wrenching video of Landy's torture.
To Gail Rigg and to everyone else in that courtroom, it was clear that Landy's murder was a senseless crime of passion.
"I've always thought that, 'I can't have you, nobody can, so let's just kind of take care of the situation,'" said Gail.
"Jose's motivation was to make Landy to pay for all of the trouble that he caused Jose in Jose's mind, but loading up all the property is much more indicative that this was also motivated by greed," said Det. Ed Judy.
After the two-day trial wrapped up, the jury found Jose Adame guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
As for Jose Adame's 16-year-old nephew, Jose claimed in court that he helped kill Landy, but no charges were ever brought against him.
"Based on the circumstances that we know, we were pretty certain that he was involved, but we just did not have enough physical evidence nor an admission from Jose to be able to prove it," said retired sergeant Robert Snipes.
With Jose Adame behind bars, Landy Martinez's friends can at least find some comfort in knowing that the person who took their beloved friend's life will pay for his crimes.
Jose Adame still maintains it's his teenage nephew who pulled the trigger. If that's true, unless new evidence emerges or the teen confesses, that nephew will remain a free man and Jose will stay locked up for the rest of his life.