“Chuy” Jose de Jesus Martinez’s framed picture sits on an Escondido sidewalk in a small memorial outside of a Burger King. Escondido police said John Burns stabbed 32-year-old Martinez once in the neck and killed him Jan. 27.
No one knows why. Yet.
Investigators said both men were transients in the Escondido area. A police report said the two may have been fighting over a bicycle, but the cause of the fight was still not determined.
“My sister called me that night and said that Chuy was murdered,” said a soft-spoken Isaac Martinez. “It was devastating.”
Isaac Martinez is Chuy Martinez’s older brother. He contacted NBC 7 because the family was upset with reports that his younger brother was homeless. Isaac Martinez said his brother was between jobs, but was living with their father.
“But he was not homeless, so that was a slap in the face,” said Isaac Martinez.
An Escondido Police Department Lieutenant told NBC 7 the department does not want to be insensitive to the family, but police said Chuy Martinez was at least associating with transients at the time.
“He was always good for a laugh,” said Isaac Martinez. “He was a loving uncle, loving son, loving brother.”
He said he'll always remembers his sister’s phone call.
“I was beside myself. I’ve never felt that emotion before. It was horrible,” he said. “Of course, my mom is taking it the worst. She is just not well.”
Isaac Martinez said the family is planning a memorial service for Chuy Martinez in Escondido, but he’ll eventually be buried in Mexico.
In the meantime, 47-year-old John Burns pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges.