Two Phoenix men have been sentenced in a murder case that took place in 2012, where a body was found decomposed in the southwest Valley desert.
William Coble, 53, and Mark Martinez, 57, pleaded guilty in January to the second-degree murder charges in the death of Scott Thomas, who they tied and then dumped in the desert roughly 20 minutes west of Buckeye. Police found his body six days after his death with bullet holes.
Both cases were overseen by Maricopa Superior Court Judge Suzanne Cohen, who sentenced both men to serve 16 years in prison.
According to court documents, , Phoenix Police found Thomas dead on June 8, 2012 in the desert off of Old U.S. 80 in Arlington.
Thomas’s girlfriend reported him missing on June 2 and told police he left to wash his car but never returned. Police used Thomas’s phone records to find that Coble was the last person he called after going missing.
Investigators searched Coble’s phone records, which showed his movement that day, they found he had traveled around Phoenix before heading west to Buckeye.
They also found evidence Martinez was involved after finding he was one person Coble called that day.
According to statements by Martinez and Coble that were included in the court record, they tied Thomas up, drugged him and then dropped him unconscious in the desert.
Coble stated Thomas visited his home on the day he went missing to use heroin and spent the night there. Coble claimed while he was sleeping Thomas tried to steal money from him which led to an attack by Coble.
Coble and Martinez claimed to have injected him with heroin throughout the day, which he claimed was because Thomas had asked them to.
Thomas died from an overdose from heroin, according to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner report.
They strapped Thomas to the inside of their vehicle where they would drive to a casino, leaving Thomas in the car with child safety locked.
When they arrived back to the vehicle they claimed he was unconscious and likely died in the backseat.
This is when both men decided to drive west into the desert to get rid of the body, Martinez told police.
According to a court memo filed by Deputy County Attorney Mary Redwing, Coble and Martinez faced life sentences before a plea offer was reached.
Coble had 10 other felony convictions and Martinez had five when they were convicted.
The Daily Independent reached out to both defendants attorneys for comment, they did not respond.
Frank Espinoza is a recent graduate of Northern Arizona University from the beginning of 2022. He prides himself on covering topics that give a spotlight to individuals or groups who give back to the community. He has covered local sports, community events, and important issues that impact the state. In his spare time, he loves to watch Street League Skateboarding and hang out at Cowtown Skateboards in Goodyear.