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For Immediate Release

Santa Rosa Man Convicted of Murder Sentenced to Maximum Sentence

Santa Rosa, CA | June 15, 2023

Defendant Lloban Martinez-Soto was sentenced earlier today to serve 3 years, plus 40 years-to-life in state prison, the maximum sentence allowed under the law, after being convicted by a Sonoma County jury in March of this year following a month-long trial to charges of second-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The defendant also suffered a sentencing enhancement for committing the murder with a firearm.

The Honorable Laura Passaglia, who oversaw the trial, sentenced Lloban Martinez-Soto at the conclusion of the Thursday morning sentencing hearing. As the family of the murder victim, Santa Rosa man Jesus Mendez Jr., watched on, the court stated, “I will say to you, Mr. Martinez-Soto, the sentence that I will give is the maximum that I can. Your cowardly act, your selfish act out of pride robbed the children of their parent, parents of their child, family members of their brother, sister, uncle, and friend. So, I hope that you spend the rest of your time in this world thinking about how you’ve affected other people.”

The murder occurred on January 18, 2021 on Casa Grande Road in Petaluma. A subsequent Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department investigation revealed that the defendant had shot and killed Mendez a result of Martinez-Soto’s jealousy at a prior relationship between his girlfriend and the decedent. The investigation further determined that Martinez-Soto had threatened his girlfriend with a firearm earlier the same day as the murder and had previously sent multiple threatening text messages to the victim, including a message that he would, “…impale him.” Following the murder, Martinez-Soto fled in his car and hid inside a residence in the City of Sonoma [At the time, the residence was also occupied by Hiramu Kenyatta Bey (also known as Demond Battiest.) Battiest was convicted on March 8, 2023 by a Sonoma County Jury for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as being in possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm.] A SWAT team was deployed, and after approximately seven hours Martinez-Soto was forced out of the home with chemical agents. Avila testified during the trial while she remained in custody while serving a local prison sentence for possessing methamphetamine for sale.

District Attorney Carla Rodriguez stated, “This was a cold-blooded murder committed for no reason other than retribution for some perceived slight. This lengthy prison sentence will do nothing to bring this victim back to his family. However, we hope that the family can find some peace knowing that the defendant has been held accountable by the jury and the court.”

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Robert Rasp and Adam Mcbride and was investigated by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.


Contact Information

Media Spokesperson, Assistant District Attorney Brian Staebell
Media Coordinator, Carrie Trevena
(707) 565-3098