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DA: Man pleads guilty to killing ex-girlfriend in Glen Cove

Jose Luis Rodriguez-Cartagena, 54, is led out of

Jose Luis Rodriguez-Cartagena, 54, is led out of Nassau police headquarters in Mineola on Monday, April 20, 2015. The Glen Cove man, now 56, pleaded guilty Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, to stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death in a parking lot in March 2015. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Glen Cove man has pleaded guilty to stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death in a parking lot in March 2015, prosecutors said Thursday.

Jose Luis Rodriguez-Cartagena, 56, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday before Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti and now faces 20 years to life in prison when he returns to court on Dec. 12, Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Rodriguez-Cartagena, a Salvadoran national, was arrested in California by Nassau police and federal authorities on April 3, 2015. Authorities said Rodriguez-Cartagena had fled with the intention of returning to El Salvador.

Rodriguez-Cartagena killed his girlfriend, Yanira Estella Canjura Martinez, 32, stabbing her “multiple times” after a confrontation in a parking lot on Glen Street in Glen Cove at about 3:15 p.m. on March 26, 2015, prosecutors said.

Martinez was en route to pick up her 5-year-old daughter when she was attacked by Rodriguez-Cartagena, whom she had broken up with a week earlier, authorities said. Following his arrest, Rodriguez-Cartagena, whose attorney said last year had been in the United States for 19 years, told reporters he felt threatened by Martinez and feared for his life. A landscaper, Rodriguez-Cartagena has three children.

Martinez, meanwhile, had left El Salvador with her daughter, moving in with Rodriguez-Cartagena, just months before her murder.

Their three-month relationship had begun on social media, authorities said.

“Following their breakup, Jose Cartagena fatally stabbed a young mother as she went to pick up her daughter,” Singas said in a statement. “This cowardly murderer then fled to California . . . [and] has finally faced justice here in Nassau County.”

Singas added: “I hope this conviction brings some sense of solace to the family of Yanira Estella Canjura Martinez.”

With Nicole Fuller and Víctor Manuel Ramos

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