February 20, 2022 – Mexican Mafia boss Johnny (The Crow) Martinez is appealing his murder conviction from his teen years after a 2021 U.S. Supreme Court ruling declared that guilty verdicts in racketeering cases with murder being a predicate count but not the central charge, are to be viewed as a non-violent offense in regards to sentencing guidelines.
Martinez, 46, is the alleged boss of La Eme’s Southern California wing, which makes him the organization’s No. 1 shot caller. He’s been locked up since the 1990s and last week was indicted for drug possession for personal use. Late last year, Martinez, who hails from Placentia, had one of two cases he was facing thrown out of court on appeal due to perjured testimony.
The case he is currently appealing is his conviction for the March 31, 1994 stabbing death of Ricky Michaels in the midst of a gang brawl in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Fullerton when they were both 18 years old. The pair were parts of rival Mexican Mafia cliques representing Fullerton and Placentia, respectively. There were five Placentia gangbangers charged in Michaels’ murder and Martinez was not accused of being the assailant who actually plunged the knife into Michaels’ chest and physically killed him.
More recently, Martinez has been accused of ordering the winter 2017 slaying of Placentia drug dealer Robert Rios and attempting to kill his former right-hand man Greg (Money) Munoz a year later upon a falling out between the pair. Rios reportedly refused to pay a La Eme-imposed street tax on his drug business. The Rios case was initially tossed on an appeal related to grand-jury evidence procedure, but it was reinstated before the charges were ultimately voided after it was revealed that a sheriff’s deputy perjured himself on the stand in a pretrial hearing.
Martinez grabbed power in La Eme four years ago following the death of his mentor, longtime Orange County Mexican Mafia don Peter (The Fury) Ojeda, per California State Police records. Ojeda died of a heart attack on the operating table during a surgery. Martinez’s rise to the La Eme throne resulted in upheaval and wanton violence, both inside and outside prison walls.
Rios was gunned down outside his home in January 2017 by a hit team allegedly put together by Martinez’s top lieutenant “Money” Munoz. Court documents claim Martinez and Munoz coordinated details of the Rios homicide on a smuggled prison cell phone.
The order for Rios murder was allegedly relayed to the hit team by Greg (Money) Munoz, then Martinez’s right-hand man. Munoz survived a 2018 assassination attempt where he was shot eight times, allegedly on Johnny the Crow’s behalf. Martinez still faces charges in Munoz’s attempted murder. If Martinez is successful in finagling out of his life sentence for the Ricky Michaels’ homicide and beats the attempted murder rap in the Munoz shooting, he might be home by next year.