Guilty plea entered in slaying of Tropicana security guard in '98


It's been a dozen years since 44-year-old Elroy Arokium was gunned down at the Tropicana.

Arokium, a Tropicana security guard, was working a party at the hotel when he was repeatedly shot in the back.

Authorities maintained during those 12 years that Jose F. Martin was the man responsible for slaying Arokium.

But Martin escaped to his home nation of Mexico where he is believed to have stayed for six years.

During that time Clark County prosecutors tracked him down and attempted to have him extradited to the United States to stand trial, only to be denied by Mexico's legal system.

Then in 2004, Martin was arrested in San Francisco where he was working as a cook.

For the next six years Martin sat in the Clark County Detention Center awaiting his capital murder trial.

On Wednesday, the waiting ended.

Martin, now 36, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon. As part of the plea deal prosecutors dropped their intent to seek the death penalty, according to court records. Martin faces a sentence of 20 to 110 years in prison.

The shooting occurred in February 1998 after Martin was involved in fisticuffs at a dance party at the Tropicana. According to Las Vegas police, the fight was broken up by hotel security, and Martin was thrown out of the party.

Martin was angered over his treatment and returned with a gun and shot Arokium, who was not involved in the earlier fight, according to police.

Martin also was accused of kidnapping for using a gun to force two people to drive him away from the scene of the crime.

Those victims were not injured.

During Wednesday's hearing before Judge Jennifer Togliatti, Martin said he didn't commit the crime but believed pleading guilty was in his best interest.

"I didn't do it, but I accepted the deal," Martin said, via a Spanish interpreter.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for July.

Contact Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

 

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