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Man charged with murder in October double-slaying at Brandon townhome

TAMPA — A man identified as a person of interest in an October double homicide in Brandon was charged Friday with first-degree murder.

Charles A. Martinez has been jailed on unrelated warrants since shortly after Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said they wanted to question him about two women who were found dead Oct. 10 inside a charred townhouse at 1528 Highland Ridge Circle.

The women were later identified as Lindsay Nicole Greene, 25, and Jennifer L. Kalb, 23.

Greene was reported missing after she did not pick up her young son from day care Oct. 9. Sheriff's deputies were sent to her home in the Carlisle Club Townhomes, where they found the bodies. A fire had been set inside the home, presumably to destroy evidence of the crime, authorities said.

A day later, sheriff's officials announced they were seeking Martinez, 24, who they said had sometimes lived at the townhouse. He later turned himself in and was held in jail on unrelated charges of home invasion and false imprisonment.

But detectives did not have enough evidence to obtain a murder charge, officials said, until an unidentified witness came forward recently with new information implicating Martinez, authorities said.

The nature of the evidence against Martinez, along with his connection with the two women, remained unclear Friday. Authorities offered few details.

He now faces two counts of first-degree murder in addition to an arson charge. According to his jail booking information, he is accused of stabbing both women to death.

It isn't the first time Martinez has surfaced as a person of interest in a murder investigation. He was also looked at in connection with the 2009 death of Victor I. Martinez, according to Hillsborough sheriff's detectives.

Victor, who was not related to Charles, was found dead Nov. 8, 2009, in a ditch off Powell Road, east of U.S. 41 in Ruskin.

With the new murder charges, detectives are looking again at the 2009 case.

"It's something that has brought a renewed interest," said Hillsborough sheriff's Sgt. Dale Bunten.

Martinez has served more than two years in state prison on convictions including shooting into a building or vehicle and criminal mischief with property damage. He was released in 2012, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Jennifer Kalb's family said Friday that news of the murder charges was a welcome relief and that they hope the case moves quickly.

"It has been very traumatic," said Jessica Kalb, her identical twin sister. "I just feel like half of me is gone."

Kalb, who lives with her mother in Pensacola, said she maintained a close relationship with her sister, even as they lived across the state from each other. Both grew up in the Tampa Bay area with four brothers, two of whom are also twins. When they were younger, they traveled the country together. Friends knew them both, and had no trouble telling them apart, especially when Jennifer flashed her unique dimpled smile.

Jennifer was a hard worker, her sister said. She had a job at Dunkin' Donuts and sometimes worked two jobs to support herself. On Tuesday nights, she would gather with friends for "Taco Tuesday."

Jessica had never met Greene, she said, and wasn't sure how her sister knew her. She was told that Martinez went to school with them at Bloomingdale High.

After the murders, Jessica was told that Martinez was seen with her sister and Greene and other friends on an evening shortly before the murders happened. Still, details were hard to come by, she said.

"We're all going to find out when it goes to trial," she said. "(Jennifer) was a sweet woman. This shouldn't have happened."

Man charged with murder in October double-slaying at Brandon townhome 01/03/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 3, 2014 10:40pm]
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