General Crime

* James Martin found dead in Salinas in neighbor’s garage on Church Street

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A 30-year-old man whose bloodied body was found in his neighbor’s garage in Salinas Monday evening had a criminal record and had called 911 earlier that day to report hearing suspicious noises, police said today. James Martin was discovered in the garage of a home in the 400 block of Church Street by the homeowner, who initially called police to report an interrupted burglary, Officer Lalo Villegas said. When the resident arrived home at about 5 p.m., he noticed his garage had been damaged and believed he had been burglarized, Villegas said. Both the contents and structure of the garage sustained moderate damage, he said.Officers arrived and found Martin’s body with lacerations on the arms, Villegas said.Martin lived next door. Next to Martin, officers found a machete belonging to the homeowner, Villegas said. Blood stains were found all over the garage.Investigators later determined Martin had been dead for several hours when he was found. An autopsy was conducted today, but his cause of death is pending the results of toxicology tests, Villegas said.He said Martin did not suffer any gunshot wounds.Police have not determined whether Martin was murdered, Villegas said. Police are looking into what Martin might have been doing in his neighbor’s garage. Although Martin lived next door, the neighbor did not know Martin, Villegas said.It appears he was never inside the house. It was not clear whether Martin had attempted to burglarize the home, but he did have a criminal record in Salinas, Villegas said.Earlier that day, Martin had called 911 to report suspicious activity at his home, Villegas said. About 10 a.m., he called to say he had heard noises in and around his home, but officers couldn’t find anything out of place, Villegas said.

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