Catalino Marin Jr.

Marin Jr.

A judge on Wednesday set a plea deal deadline for a Tyler man accused of killing the mother of his two young children last summer.

Catalino Castillo Marin Jr., 22, was charged with murder in connection with the death of Diamond Samantha Cruz, 21, on Aug. 9, 2020, in the 8700 block of County Road 384 in Tyler.

He has been in the Smith County Jail since Aug. 10 last year on a $500,000 bond.

On Wednesday, 7th District Court Judge Kerry Russell during a Zoom hearing set the deadline as Sept. 28 for the court to receive a plea agreement.

Both the defense and prosecution said they have communicated with one another, and have discussed potential plea offers.

Russell said if a deal is not reached by the deadline, the case would be placed on the docket for a jury trial.

According to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Marin fled in his pickup truck after the shooting, and Tyler police located his vehicle crashed and flipped on its side in the city that afternoon. He fled on foot and later turned himself in.

Cruz’s mother, Dalila Lopez Morales, described her daughter as someone who would do anything for her kids, 3-year-old Adali and 2-year-old Nathaniel.

The arrest affidavit states Marin told deputies the shooting death of Cruz was an accident, and she shot herself during a fight over the gun.

According to the document, the wounds were inconsistent with a self-inflicted gunshot. Detectives said the entry and exit wounds didn’t match with a person shooting themself, and they noted discrepancies within Marin’s recollection of events.

In the sheriff’s office interview, police said Marin referred to Cruz as “the body” or “it” when discussing the shooting. Police also said Marin showed no signs of remorse toward Cruz and he did not request emergency medical care, the affidavit read.


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I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.