New Mexico Man Kills Trans Lover After She Threatens to Tell His Wife About Their Secret Affair

Jose Mendoza-Espinoza and Sherlyn Marjorie
Sherlyn Marjorie and Jose Mendoza-Espinoza Twitter

An Albuquerque man is accused of killing a transgender woman he was having a yearslong affair with and leaving her body in a drainage tunnel last month.

Jose Mendoza-Espinoza, 29, is charged with an open count of murder and four counts of tampering with evidence in the Sept. 17 death of 35-year-old Sherlyn Marjorie. He was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Wednesday.

Marjorie's Body Found 10 Days After She went Missing

Marjorie was initially reported missing to the Albuquerque Police Department after she was last seen on Sept. 16, according to court records. On Sept. 26, a search party of family and friends, having first found her car, discovered her body in the tunnel. She was found bound in tape and plastic, a half block from where her car was located.

Deputies said Marjorie's friends told them she had arranged to meet with a man early on Sept. 17, but they didn't know who. Detectives searched Marjorie's car GPS and found she had visited a mobile home park.

Video surveillance from the mobile home park showed a man in an SUV meet with Marjorie outside a trailer in the name of Mendoza-Espinoza's wife, according to the complaint. Mendoza-Espinoza was detained and told detectives he and Marjorie, who he knew as transgendered, had been having a two- to three-year-long affair.

Mendoza-Espinoza Said Marjorie Blackmailed Him, Tried to Extort Money

Mendoza-Espinoza allegedly told detectives he killed Marjorie after she tried to extort him for money and tell his wife about the affair, according to court records.

Deputies said Mendoza-Espinoza told them he was "thinking about getting a divorce" but "was very worried about his wife finding out about his sexual preferences." He told deputies Marjorie had threatened to expose the affair and he had taken out loans to pay her to keep quiet.

Mendoza-Espinoza told deputies he had sex with Marjorie before she again extorted him outside his mobile home on Sept. 17, according to the complaint. He said they argued and "he flipped out" and beat her to death. However, there was no corroborating evidence backing up the extortion claims provided in court records.

Jayme Fuller, a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, said, "There is no evidence to suggest or reason to believe that this incident was a hate crime specifically targeting individuals in the transgender community."