NEW ORLEANS — Police say a 73-year-old Missouri man who was killed inside of his St. Charles Avenue hotel room late Thursday night was asleep next to his wife shortly before a local man stormed into their room and beat the man to death as his wife looked on in horror.
Martin Hurtado, 29, was quickly arrested inside a bathroom at the Avenue Plaza Hotel where David Sorenson and his wife were staying during a visit from their hometown of Wildwood, Mo., according to information compiled from police and the coroner’s office.
An affidavit for Hurtado’s arrest for second-degree murder states that he went to the hotel after working his shift at Taco’s and Beer, a St. Charles Avenue restaurant five blocks away from the hotel. From there, the narrative pieced together from security camera footage and Hurtado’s statement to detectives points to a bizarre and random act of violence.
At about 10:45 p.m., the hotel’s video cameras catch Hurtado going to the sixth floor and “knocking on all of the hotel doors on the floor,” Homicide Detective Miles Guirreri wrote in the affidavit.
While Hurtado is roaming the halls of the hotel, somebody pulled a fire alarm, the affidavit states, and “patrons on the sixth floor are seen exiting their rooms.”
Sorenson’s wife told detectives that when she and her husband were asleep when the fire alarm woke her up.
“Suddenly, she heard a knock on the door and when she went to open it, an unknown male entered the room, pushed her into the room and told her ‘I’m not here, don’t tell anyone I’m here,’” Guirreri wrote. “Fearing for her safety, the victim’s wife ran toward the hotel bathroom, but before closing the door, she observed the male punching her husband in the face.”
When officers arrived at the hotel, they found Hurtado in the couple’s bathroom, bleeding from a cut to his face, the detective wrote.
After Hurtado was taken into custody, he offered a vague statement to detectives, according to the affidavit, telling them “all he could remember was drinking at work, Tacos and Beer…but he could not remember anything after that.”
After being booked with second-degree murder, Hurtado’s bail was set at $350,000. He remained locked up at the Orleans Justice Center.
Other than working at Tacos and Beer, not much is known about Hurtado aside from the fact that he lived in an apartment in Uptown New Orleans and previously worked at other restaurants in the area.