When police arrested Jose Manuel Martinez, they suspected him only of the 2013 shooting of a man who made the mistake of insulting his daughter. So they were taken aback and a bit skeptical when the 51-year-old said he'd been a cartel hitman since age 16, and a good one, and not particularly sorry about it. "They hired the best," he said of the unnamed cartel. "If I didn't do the job, someone would have." Amazingly, his stories checked out, and California prosecutors Tuesday charged Martinez with nine murders, the LA Times reports.
Those nine could be the tip of the iceberg; Martinez has confessed to killing as many as 40 people across several states, according to the AP. He came clean when investigators told him that DNA on a cigarette butt had linked him to a 2006 cold case—though he insisted on talking only to one specific detective who had once impressed him. That detective had to be flown three times from California to Alabama, where Martinez is currently awaiting trial for the alleged killing of the daughter-insulter—the one murder he denies committing. (Read more Jose Manuel Martinez stories.)