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Manatee woman faces murder charge in shooting

MANATEE — An 18-year-old Manatee woman has been charged with murder after authorities say she helped plan a robbery during which a man was placed on his knees and shot to death.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Maria Guadalupe Sanchez, 18, Tuesday, in the July 15 shooting death of 51-year-old Rolando Martinez-Rosales.

Sheriff’s reports say Sanchez met Martinez-Rosales at the Cuernavacas Bar, 830 U.S. 301 Blvd. E., on the night of the shooting. Sanchez and a female cousin left the bar with Martinez-Rosales and two of his friends.

They had planned to get pizza, but Sanchez asked Martinez-Rosales if he would stop by her home in the 4000 block of Eighth Street Court East, to pick up a cell phone charger.

Sanchez and her cousin told the men to wait in the car while they went inside. Instead, the women went around the back of the duplex and several armed men surrounded the vehicle, stealing money, jewelry and a cell phone, according to the sheriff’s office.

Martinez-Rosales and the other victims tried to escape the car, but one of his friends was pistol-whipped, while Martinez-Rosales ran away. He ran for a short distance but the gunmen caught up to him, put him on his knees and fired one shot into the back of his head, according to sheriff’s reports.

The other two victims were able to drive away and reported to authorities that Martinez-Rosales was missing. The victims then drove back to the neighborhood and told detectives they saw Sanchez talking with the same men who attacked them.

Detectives also obtained cell phone records, finding several text messages and phone calls were made from the stolen cell phone owned by Martinez-Rosales to Sanchez’s cell phone. Sheriff’s reports say Sanchez also received messages from a documented SUR-13 gang member discussing a robbery, but the person’s name has not been released.

Sanchez is not believed to be the shooter in the case, but she has been arrested on charges of murder and robbery because of her role in the planning of the hold-up that led to Martinez-Rosales’ death, sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow said. The case remains under investigation.

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