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El Paso cantina shooter sentenced to 35 years in prison for 2021 killing

According to the affidavit, security footage revealed the defendant entered a bar, adopted a shooting stance with a handgun, and discharged multiple shots

El Paso police vehicle in hot pursuit
El Paso police vehicle in hot pursuit | Vicky Diaz/El Paso Police Department Photo Lab

February 21, 2024 9:06am

Updated: February 21, 2024 1:51pm

An El Paso County man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for pleading guilty to murder in a deadly shooting at Coconuts Wing Cantina three years ago.

Records reveal that on Feb. 8, Neftali Maymi Martinez admitted guilt to a murder charge and two counts of aggravated assault in the 120th District Court of Texas.

The 35-year sentence, handed down by Judge Maria Salas-Mendoza, is the result of a lethal bar shooting that occurred on the night of Aug. 25, 2021.

Almanzar was affectionately described by his family as a caring husband, father, and grandfather to two grandsons.

An affidavit attached to the government’s complaint states that, at the age of 43, Martinez engaged in an argument with Almanzar inside the Coconuts establishment and was subsequently ejected.

According to the affidavit, security footage revealed Martinez entering the bar, adopting a shooting stance with a handgun, and discharging multiple shots. Tragically, Almanzar was fatally shot in the head, while the individual shot in the thigh was transported to Del Sol Medical Center for treatment.

Upon responding to the shooting, Socorro police officers arrived and witnessed people fleeing from the bar.

While Socorro police and El Paso County sheriff's deputies were looking into the bar shooting, additional deputies responded to a reported drive-by shooting outside a residence on Catherine Slutter Lane.

Video footage from home security cameras in the neighborhood captured the driver of a silver van firing a handgun. Deputies swiftly located and apprehended Martinez near the van in a driveway, as outlined in the report.

The affidavit did not specify a motive for the argument that led to the initial shooting.

Martinez, matching the description provided by witnesses at the bar as a tall man in a green, long-sleeve shirt, was confirmed as the perpetrator in both the Coconuts shooting and the drive-by incident.

The FBI's recent data indicates a 10% surge in the crime rate during the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same period the previous year. Despite this uptick, El Paso maintains one of the lowest crime rates among major cities reporting to the FBI. However, it stands out as one of the few large U.S. cities experiencing a rise in crime during 2023.

Martinez will be credited for the 901 days he spent in jail awaiting trial, according to court records.