Man sentenced to 25 years in prison in connection with fatal assault

Court records show a 37-year-old man was sentenced Thursday after being found guilty in connection with the assault and death of 39-year-old Manuel Mandujano in March of 2021.

Edgar Daniello Martinez-Montez was sentenced to 25.5 years (306 months) at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility by Judge Tamara Garcia, Hennepin County court records show. He received credit for 463 days already served.

Martinez-Montez was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of aiding an offender after the fact.

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A criminal complaint shows three other people were charged in connection with the murder: Ivan Contreras-Sanchez, Arturo Morales-Ceras, and Tomasa Martinez.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS last August, Contreras-Sanchezs is serving a 40-year sentence for two separate counts of second-degree murder. He was convicted by a jury in 2022.

Meanwhile, Morales-Ceras is serving a 16 1/2-year sentence for one count of second-degree murder after pleading guilty to the charge. He had faced an aggravated sentence of 20 years if he didn’t testify in the trials of the other defendants.

RELATED: Man who pounded nail into murder victim’s heel sentenced to 16 1/2 years in prison after testifying in codefendants’ trials

Martinez, whose jury trial was previously scheduled to begin this month, will now face jurors in June, according to court records.

During an interview with law enforcement from the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), Contreras-Sanchez admitted to going to a tent encampment at 5th Avenue South and Lake Street in Minneapolis on March 29, 2021, where he forced Mandujano into a Chevrolet Malibu Maxx at gunpoint, according to the complaint.

The complaint added that Mandujano was then brought to the basement of a home at 425 36th St. in Minneapolis where all four defendants and other unnamed people assaulted him for two-to-three hours at the direction of Contreras-Sanchez.

Morales-Ceras told law enforcement he then hammered a roofing nail into the bone of Mandujano’s heel.

Video footage provided to MPD by Contreras-Sanchez shows Martinez-Montez and the other defendants assaulting Mandujano in the basement.

Morales-Ceras and Contreras-Sanchez later interrogated Mandujano about working with the police and being a “snitch,” while using a hammer to threaten him, according to the complaint.

Mandujano was eventually wrapped in plastic and put into the back of the Chevrolet. The complaint adds that the defendants began driving and at some point, Contreras-Sanchez told the other passengers that Mandujano had died.

MPD confirmed that Martinez-Montez and the other passengers of the Chevrolet decided to dispose of Mandujano’s body in a farming culvert in Dakota County. Martinez-Montez later admitted to police officers that he had pushed Mandujano’s body out of the car and watched as two others dragged him down to a ditch.