Decamped duo captured in Azusa for murder

WOODLAND — An 11-day manhunt ended Wednesday with the arrests of a man and his wife in connection with the July 26 murder of 17-year-old William “Billy” Martinez, Woodland police said.

Marcelino Moises Michel Jr., 28; and Rachelle Annemarie Pease, 19; were apprehended at about 4:30 a.m. at an apartment in Azusa, northeast of Los Angeles, Sgt. Dan Letamendi said.

“The (Martinez) family was relieved, and we’re relieved that they’re in custody,” Letamendi said that afternoon.

Martinez and Michel were once stepbrothers, Letamendi said. Martinez’s mother had been married to Michel’s father.

Michel and Pease, of 4901 Little Oak Lane #1 in Sacramento, were lodged at the Los Angeles County Jail on $1 million warrants that were issued shortly after the murder.

They will be transported to Yolo County to face criminal charges, a process that Letamendi said could take “days or weeks.” He would not give specifics about how authorities tracked the couple to Azusa and would not say in whose apartment they were staying.

Two Woodland police detectives flew to Southern California on Wednesday to conduct interviews with the suspects, Letamendi said.

The shooting occurred at about 12:30 a.m. July 26 at the Crossroads Village Apartments, 555 Matmor Road. Martinez, who friends say lived with his grandmother, reportedly was visiting his sister at the apartment complex.

Witnesses in the case have reported hearing an argument take place in a nearby apartment prior to the shooting. Martinez was found in the parking lot with a fatal gunshot wound to his head.

The motive for the murder remains unclear.

“We’ve heard different reasons for it,” Letamendi said.

Pease was named as a suspect in the murder late last week. Letamendi has described her as being an accessory to the murder but has not specified her alleged role in the crime.


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