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An Illinois man is facing life in prison because Racine police say in October 2021 he was involved in a shootout that ended in the death of a suspected drug dealer in West Racine.

Jonathon Martinez was charged Thursday in Racine County Circuit Court with one felony count each of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted armed robbery with use of force. If convicted, he faces a possible sentence that could be the rest of his life in prison and/or up to $50,000 in fines.

Shootout on Monroe Avenue

According to the criminal complaint, police were called on October 4, 2021, to a residence in the 1000 block of Monroe Avenue for a report of a home invasion and suspicious circumstances involving the caller. When officers arrived, they found James Hamilton, 31, dead from two gunshot wounds and a scene that depicted a shootout. A search of the home turned up more than $125,000 in cash, several firearms, and a variety of illegal drugs including cocaine, heroin, mushrooms, and marijuana.

Police say witnesses told them they believe the man was involved in dealing drugs. A neighbor’s surveillance camera depicts a red truck parking a few houses away from the victim’s home before two men exit and make their way to the residence. A few minutes later, both men are seen running for the vehicle and fleeing the area. Unique add-on details of the truck and surveillance footage from Illinois helped lead investigators to Martinez and his brother, Christopher. Million-dollar arrest warrants were issued for both brothers, and Christopher’s remains in effect because he is still at large.

Jonathan Martinez remains in the Racine County Jail on a $1 million cash bond. He will next be in court April 27 for his preliminary hearing.


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