Man pleads guilty to a murder charge in girlfriend's death

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CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) — A southwest Idaho man who beat his girlfriend to death and then buried her body in a cornfield has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Charges of destruction of evidence and failure to report a death to the authorities were dropped for Alfredo Martinez, 39, in exchange for his plea on Monday in 3rd District Court. He's scheduled to be sentenced July 27.

Martinez said that on Aug. 15 he hit Selena Thomas with a closed fist and then grabbed a hammer to threaten her and said, "I should just." He said the hammer slipped out of his hand and struck Thomas in the face. He said he shoved her into a dresser when she stepped toward him.

He then put Thomas' body in a closet in the Nampa home they shared, he said, where it remained for two days before he and three others buried her in a cornfield near Melba.

Thomas' co-workers went to her home looking for her and found her white Monte Carlo in the driveway with her purse on the passenger seat and keys in the ignition. Thomas' mother called police, who searched the vehicle and found blood in the trunk.

Jose Cruz Flores, Martinez's nephew, has pleaded not guilty to accessory to murder, concealing or destroying evidence, burglary and failure to notify authorities of a death. His trial is set for Aug. 17. Jorge Luis Garcia, of Nampa, has pleaded not guilty to concealing or destroying evidence and failure to notify of a death. His trial is set for May 26. Daniel Francisco Sena, also of Nampa, has pleaded not guilty to concealing or destroying evidence. He is scheduled to go on trial on Aug. 25.

Thomas' death led Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue and former Nampa Police Chief Curtis Homer to work on a bill that would establish a state violent offender registry. The bill was introduced in the Idaho Legislature earlier this year, but it died in committee.

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